After the Christmas binge Hugh Jackman makes working out a family affair

After spending the Christmas period with a house crowded with his extended family, it would be unsurprising if Hugh Jackman were to head off to the gym for some alone time.But it seems the Hollywood actor can't get enough of his relatives, inviting them to join him for a post-binge workout today. The actor, his mother-in-law Faye Duncan and his wife Deborra Lee Furness all pulled on their exercise gear as they headed to the gym in Melbourne, Australia.
With Wolverine star Hugh in charge of the workout, it's sure to have been a challenging one. Hugh, 42, and Deborra are staying with her parents over the Christmas break on the Mornington Peninsula. The couple and Oscar, ten, and five-year-old Ava, normally live in New York, where the children attend school. But the Jackmans regularly return home to their native Australia to ensure their children know their friends and family. Hugh was looking slightly heavier than usual this morning, perhaps as a result of his recent run of accidents.
Earlier this month the actor dramatically zip-wired onto the set of the Oprah Winfrey show when it visited Sydney. But the stunt went wrong and he ended up with a nasty cut to his eye which needed stitches. Then a Boxing Day cricket match, in which he took on Shane Warne, saw him take a direct hit to the groin when the legendary cricketer bowled what is known as a wrong'un. And days before Christmas Hugh received an accidental kick in the back from daughter Ava, as she played on a swing set.




Real Steel, Hugh Jackman And Why We Like To Watch Men Punch Each Other In The Head

Screenwriter: “Hugh Jackman is a former boxer and robot boxing promoter, reluctantly convinced to train a championship contender.”

Producer: “Why does he need to be a robot?”

Screenwriter: “No, he promotes robot boxing.”

Producer: “Oh, well that's OK then.”

That's probably how the pitch for the upcoming Hugh Jackman film, Real Steel, went. Jackman (who, as Tim has pointed out to me, has the best pornstar name of any non porn actor) stars as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter turned small time robot boxing promoter.

I'm no Hollywood type, but when I saw this trailer, I thought: “Man is this movie going to bomb.” Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of boxing (and robot fighting) on the big screen as much as the next man. If there was a robot fight happening down the road, shit yeah I'd go and see it. But as a boxing fan, the whole premise rang hollow. Not just because it's Hugh Jackman, though it is kind of hard to think of The Boy from Oz as an former pugilist. And not just because it's a movie about a boxing promoter (though they made one about Don King and I'd probably go to see Bob Arum: The Musical starring Brian Dennehy as Bob).

Real Steel doesn't feel right because robot boxing just wouldn't be enjoyable. As I said before, hell yes, you'd go and check it out once or twice; especially if it was in some crazy futuristic arena where everybody gets a floating platform, as the trailer seems to suggest will be the case.

But violence between machines simply doesn't have the same appeal as violence between men. That's why we watch boxing every weekend, and not robosaurus (though maybe you watch both, I'm not sure).

Thinking about this fact led me to think some half-arsed deep thoughts about the nature of our sport. The truth is, we all watch boxing to see people get hurt. Yes, the level of skill on show is often amazing, but it's a secondary consideration.

Boxing's drama is the boxer's pain. His power and his vulnerability. In the best fights, both men hurt each other. In the worst, one man cannot hurt his rival or both refuse to hurt each other. Many of us dislike the Klitschkos, not because the heavyweight duo doesn't hurt people, but because their style rules out the possibility of being hurt themselves.

It's not just boxing fans. Bone-crunching slow motion replays are the highlight of many people's football watching experience. Fights in hockey are almost part of the game. Soccer fans create their own violence to compensate for the lack of it on the pitch.

Not to mention that the behind the scenes human drama is a huge part of boxing fandom. Think of the recent focus on the death of Michael Katsidis' brother, Anthony and Lamont Peterson sleeping in cars as young men or Manny Pacquiao's escape from poverty.

Robots just couldn't provide that (I find it hard to believe that I just typed that sentence). Though there did seem to be a touching sequence (possibly taken from a montage) in the trailer of Hugh Jackman teaching a robot to throw a left hook.

Maybe all this says something about human nature. Maybe not. I'm just a boxing writer. Will the movie tank? Who knows. Movies with worse looking trailers have done well at the box office. Maybe Hugh Jackman attracts a huge female audience, I don't know.

Moreover, I didn't know it when I watched the trailer, but the screenplay is loosely based on Steel, a 1956 short story by Richard Matheson (which was later made into an episode of The Twighlight Zone). Not to mention that Steven Spielberg is producing. So they're pluses.

If there's one good thing about the rise of MMA, it's that it demonstrates that boxing isn't going to get banned any time soon. Besides, I liked robots much better when they were gay.




'Dark Tower' Casting Rumors: Viggo Mortensen, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig & Jon Hamm

It was eight months ago that we first heard that director Ron Howard, writer Akiva Goldsman and producer Brian Grazer had acquired the rights to Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' and were planning an ambitious multi-platform adaptation of the seven-book series that would span three films and two seasons of television. After much speculation as to what a Howard-directed fantasy epic would look like, plus the wringing of sweaty, fanboy hands over the potential quality of such an endeavor, the LA Times has an excellent "first look" of sorts at the current status of the project.

As the headline suggests, a series of names are thrown about for the role of Roland Deschain, a wandering Gunslinger who goes on an epic quest across multiple dimensions to reach the fabled Dark Tower and save the universe from destruction, and Howard doesn't shoot any of them down: Viggo Mortensen, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and John Hamm.

Before we go off half-cocked and declare this a final list or some such nonsense, it's important to note that this is just friendly spitballing and that of course these names are on Howard's list -- they're only some of the biggest stars working right now. The big question is whether or not they'll be able to lock down a big star willing to commit years of his life to a single project that would span the large and small screen -- and with a series this geeky, violent and downright strange, a star will be all but required to sell this thing to the norms. You really can't sell a mass audience on "fantastical science fiction spaghetti western."

It's difficult to picture Jackman and Craig joining another major franchise (aren't Wolverine and Bond enough, really?) and Hamm, although a wonderful actor, is all kinds of wrong for the role of a grizzled, worn out cowboy, but Mortensen feels right for the role, having dabbled in epic fantasy and quiet badassery on more than one occasion.

Casting rumors aside, the original article is quite a read, especially for fans of the series who must be scratching heir heads as to how they can possibly pull this thing off, particularly in regards to the last few books which just get, well, weird. As in unadaptable weirdness. As in "There is no way this conclusion could ever work in a film" weird. (Fans are still debating over whether or not the final stretch of the series even works at all). Heck, the sprawling, mythic story already defeated director JJ Abrams and writer Damon Lindelof, who should know a thing or two about weirdness after their work on 'Lost.'

Howard directly addresses the difficulty in adapting the series and his thoughts can be boiled down to one simple statement:

And you know what? He's right. A filmed version of 'The Dark Tower' will never be able to encapsulate everything about the books and there are more than enough moments in the series that simply don't feel particularly cinematic (particularly a controversial ending that feels stunningly anti-climactic after seven books of build-up). Stripping down the story and making it about a group of characters on an epic quest and sidestepping the metatextual subplots that permeate the second half of the series will be the only way for a film version to even begin to function.

Although Howard doesn't seem like the first choice for this series, his enthusiasm feels palpable in this article. The strongest endorsement for this take comes from Stephen King himself:

"I've been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world. Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for the 'The Dark Tower' series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in 'The Dark Tower' that fans have come to love."

So keep yourselves optimistic, ladies and gentlemen. The project still hasn't even received and official green light from Universal, which means we've got a long wait ahead -- and it's better to wait in anticipation rather than dread.