“New York is quite tranquil and bizarrely empty … but people are talking and interacting,” Jackman says.
“We walk our dogs and there are some people that I’m talking to now that I’ve seen around for 10 years, but had never spoken to! People seem to have more time, and the optimist in me hopes that’ll continue, and there’ll be a shared sense of community that will come out of it when it’s over.”
While the 51-year-old actor’s Broadway schedule for The Music Man is dependent on the COVID-19 situation, he’s getting rave reviews for his new film, Bad Education, which is based on a true story of crime and corruption.
Jackman plays Frank Tassone, an overachieving but well-liked school superintendent in Long Island who went from a respected pillar of society to a shamed felon when his years of embezzlement and double life were exposed.
“I think what really attracted me was the fact that it was true, but more because it was also about the grey areas of humanity, which I really love exploring,” Jackman says of the role, which some reviewers have hailed among his best work.
“Obviously in the end a lot of people went to jail because they did something very bad and stole $12 million of public money – the largest theft in school history. But what interested me is that ‘slipperiness’ of truth … Like, you are walking down the grocery aisle and you think, ‘I’m just going to eat a grape, but I’m not a bad person,’ and six years later, you’re taking money from the till and justifying it too.”
In this time of uncertainty, Jackman tells WHO he’s trying to maintain normalcy in his routine, including the meditation he’s been practising for 25 years.
“It’s helped me a lot because I worry mainly for my kids right now,” he says. “I’m not scared for myself, I’m worried about them, their mental state, school, not being around friends and the disruption.”
Life in lockdown has been easier on Jackman, a self-confessed introvert, than his wife of 24 years, Furness, “a natural extrovert”, but the couple are making the most of having a rarely relaxed schedule.
“There is a lot of cooking, which my kids are not that thrilled about, but Deb is thrilled about!” Jackman says. “And Deb and I are playing a record amount of backgammon. We normally play 10 games a day, but it’s got to be 20 or 30 right now!”
He’s also been utilising his home as a makeshift theatre.
“I’d be lying if I said I’m not dancing in my living room a little bit, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not still doing singing lessons and singing every day,” he says.
“A little bit of work keeps me sane … so let’s say a quarter of my time is work and the rest is simply hanging out with my family.”