Copyright 2001 Jam Showbiz, All Rights Reserved

[ December 10th 2001 ]

Hugh Jackman is beefing up his image. The Aussie actor is preparing to reprise his role as Wolverine in the sequel to X-Men, which is scheduled to begin shooting in the spring.

"I'm working on a weight and strength-training regime in the gym five times a week. I'm eating more than I ever have just to fill out the muscle mass," says Jackman. "I also do intensive aerobic workouts three times a week. My trainer is the guy who prepared Angelina Jolie for Tomb Raider."

Jackman was considerably leaner when he filmed X-Men in Toronto in 1999. He had just finished a run in the London stage version of the musical Oklahoma!, which had earned him rave revie'ws and the attention of X-Men director Bryan Singer.

X-Men had been shooting for a week when Jackman was flown in to replace Dougray Scott, who had to cancel when Mission Impossible 2 went over its shooting schedule. X-Men fast-tracked Jackman's career, earning him starring roles in three movies this year -- Someone Like You, Swordfish and the holiday movie Kate & Leopold, which opens Dec. 21.

Jackman started his career in Australia as a musical theatre star and tested for the role of the sleazy lawyer opposite Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the film version of the musical Chicago, which is filming in Toronto. He lost out to Richard Gere. Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos are all reprising their roles for the X-Men sequel.

Jackman says he doesn't mind being marketed as a hunk. He's gone shirtless in all his movies. "I'm not shy. I'll peel off my shirt if the script requires," he says. I'm just careful that it doesn't seem gratuitous. I don't want it to look as if I'm showing off the results of those hours I have to spend in the gym."

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