As a writer and voice over director for Raven, I consider myself very lucky to have worked with Hugh Jackman a.k.a. Wolverine of the X-Men movies. Now most actors are just like you and me, very normal people, very easy to work with - no attitude whatsoever. But as you work your way up the popularity ladder you have to start treating them more and more like royalty because you don't want them getting angry and walking off. So I was very apprehensive about working with Mr. Jackman; he's at the top of the ladder. Everything would have to be perfect for him. Normally when we do voice over sessions in LA it's at a nice studio - but the studio used for our first session with Hugh was very upscale; it had a meditation area with a little waterfall. And the receptionist, who looked like she belonged on the cover of Maxim magazine, offered to make me a margarita as soon as I set foot in the door.
So after turning down a drink from a woman who would normally never even make eye contact with me, I met Mr. Jackman's dialect coach, Jess Platt. As a dialect coach, it's Mr. Platt's job to listen to Mr. Jackman and correct his Australian accent to sound American if for some reason he's off a little (Hugh was rarely off). Mr. Platt is incredibly intelligent and a lot like Professor Higgins from My Fair Lady; the minute he heard me talk he asked if I was from Illinois - I told him I was raised in northern Illinois. If you look him up on IMDB you'll see he's worked on tons of films including one of the greatest movies of all time - Mystery Men.
Then came the moment of truth - the call was placed to Australia; Mr. Jackman was filming X-Men Origins: Wolverine so he couldn't make it to LA. He was at a studio in Melbourne and our group in LA listened in over the phone.
When Hugh spoke for the first time it was a little odd - he sounded like Wolverine, but with an Australian accent. He was very friendly and said hello to everyone, so right off the bat I felt a little less intimidated. Then we began the recording session - it was my job to explain each scene so that Mr. Jackman knew how to say his lines: is he angry, is he happy, is he sad? The first couple of scenes were self explanatory so I didn't have to say too much but then we hit a scene where Hugh said the lines normally ... but he was supposed to say them breathing as if he had just finished a fight. I couldn't ignore it, but what if he didn't want to be directed? What if he got angry? What if he walked off? I had to say something so I jumped in and explained how it should be done. And you know what? He had absolutely no problem - he said the line exactly how I wanted. But what was really cool is that most actors would have just pretend to be winded; Hugh actually threw a few punches so he'd breath a little heavier then he said his lines. That's when I realized Mr. Jackman had no attitude; even though he was at the top of the popularity ladder, he just wanted to give the best performance he could. The rest of the voice over session went perfectly. Hugh made jokes, talked to all of us, and was very easy to work with. I think what it boils down to is, Mr. Jackman is an actor, first, last and always. And I think he'd put the same amount of energy into any performance, whether it's for a $200 million movie or a community theater performance for a group of 20 people.