Some people know him as the hunky X-man Wolverine, others as monster hunter Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing. But on Sunday, Hugh Jackman will just be The Boy from Oz. Nominated for a lead-actor trophy for his portrayal of flamboyant Aussie songwriter Peter Allen in the hit Broadway musical, Jackman will host the 58th Annual Tony Awards. And he promises it will be loads of fun.
TV Guide Online: Hosting the Tonys must be like working the room at a really big party.
Hugh Jackman: That's a good way to put it. There are 6000 people there. Broadway people. And they're the most lively crowd you've ever seen.
TVGO: How do you prepare for a thing like that?
Jackman: The only bit I'm doing is to get contact lenses. I didn't think my eyesight was that bad until I tried to read the TelePrompTer at last year's Tonys and couldn't. Oy. It was like being at the eye doctor and being asked to read that tiny little line on national television. I had to ad-lib a lot.
TVGO: What kind of host are you when you throw your own parties?
Jackman: My wife Deb is the host of the family. But my party secret is just to get everyone drinking. That's the Australian way. Maybe for the Tonys I'll just give everyone a vodka shot on their way in. That'll really liven up the place.
TVGO: In The Boy from Oz you sing, dance and play piano. Wolverine's got skills!
Jackman: [Laughs] I had to brush up on many of them. When I was shooting Van Helsing, I practiced tap dancing in my trailer and I frightened director Stephen Sommers.
TVGO: What else can you do?
Jackman: I was a clown at kids' parties for about two years. So I can even juggle and do a few magic tricks.
TVGO: What was the worst party you ever worked?
Jackman: The first one. There were a dozen 6-year-olds. And about five minutes in, the birthday boy started screaming, "He's not a clown. He's just a man!" So I resorted to smashing eggs on my head and letting 15 boys jump all over me. It was the hardest $50 I ever earned.
TVGO: So are you available for bar mitzvahs and stuff?
Jackman: Yeah. But I'm going to cost a little more than $50 now.
TVGO: At last year's Oscars, Adrien Brody stole a kiss from Halle Berry. But you got paid to get close to her in Swordfish.
Jackman: Yeah. I've actually done three movies with Halle, so there are a lot of actors in Hollywood who are a bit angry with me, actually.
TVGO: Well, how did you work that out with your wife?
Jackman: She's pretty cool. Deb's an actress, too. She's done probably 30 movies. And she reminds me that she's been naked with more men in more showers and beds and walls than I've actually been in movies. So I've still got a bit to make up. But Halle has actually become a good friend. So it's not like I'm using a day pass with Halle, you know.
TVGO: Well, who would you use a "day pass" with?
Jackman: Oh, I've got to say I'm really taken with Beyonce. We saw her at Madison Square Garden. I think she's fantastic.
TVGO: Isn't she a bit young for you?
Jackman: Yeah, but she's sexy. And I'm only 35. That's not that bad.