Reflections on Acting, Identity, Personal Transformation, and the Significance of Being Wolverine #168 | Hugh Jackman on The Peter Attia Drive

Check out The Peter Attia Drive show notes and episode page

Key Takeaways

  • Volunteer for things you’re scared of and you’ll never miss an opportunity
  • “Make your eulogy better than your resume” – Peter Attia
  • Criticism typically derives from a lack of understanding
    • Hugh Jackman rarely reads reviews while a performance is still running, as he doesn’t want negative outside bias to affect the vision of the theater
  • There is a tedious balance in trauma because the event is preferably avoidable but contrarily, inner desire and drive is often created from negative circumstances
  • Hugh’s son (Oscar) thought that if John Lennon could be killed, he believed famous people like his father were in constant danger and didn’t approve of Hugh’s profession
  • Hugh has a high desire for the audience to have an ‘I was there when…’ type moment in every one of his performances
  • Logan (Wolverine) as a character gave Hugh Jackman the opportunity to explore and appreciate the alternate perspective of different personality traits
    • The emotions you feel are the ‘right’ emotions – there are no appropriate emotions, your reaction is your truth
  • “In film, you don’t want 1+1=2. That’s science. In art, you want 1+1=3 and spend the movie proving it” -Hugh Jackman quoting Jim Mangold

Intro

  • Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman), famous Broadway and film actor, and Peter Attia have a back and forth conversation about life advice, career experiences, and his character Logan from the Wolverine based super-hero series
  • Host: Peter Attia (@PeterAttiaMD)

Career Growth Advice

  • How did Hugh Jackman know he was good enough to compete and succeed in acting:
    • Early mentorship from great theater director, Trevor Nunn
    • Prioritized incremental achievements
    • Volunteered for things he was scared of, never missed an opportunity to grow
  • “Make your eulogy better than your resume” – Peter Attia
    • If you prioritize your eulogy, you may have to sacrifice deliberate trade-offs in short term opportunity
    • “Living long without living well is torture” – Peter Attia
  • Journaling – great way to be honest with yourself and contemplate
  • Going with your gut vs going with the data – a balance of both is a recipe for success
  • There is great power in imagination – rehearsing your own potential

Criticism

  • Criticism typically derives from a lack of understanding
  • Hugh doesn’t read reviews; he finds they have an unpredictable impact on his emotions
    • The Boy from Mars – Broadway musical that Hugh did that received bad reviews but he felt it connected well with the audience at the moment. He continued to perform the shows without reading the reviews to avoid the outside negative bias.
  • Social Media – Recognize that is impossible to please everyone. Peter doesn’t typically try to change people’s minds, just provide information
    • Peter uses Joe Rogan method of ‘post and ghost’: posting and ignoring interactions

Life Turning Points for Hugh

  • Based on childhood Christian values, Hugh was always looking for signs that he was heading in the right direction
    • Receiving the exact amount of money from his grandma’s dying will for his drama school opportunity felt like the sign he needed
  • Hugh’s Father’s advice strategy: always withheld advice until Hugh made a decision. He would give feedback but didn’t want to be credited or blamed for the effects of the advice.
  • Mother’s departure from family at 8 years old – it was a traumatic event that developed his perfectionism; he wanted to live his life to the point where no one wanted to leave him behind

Trauma

  • The same traumatic event can affect the people involved in different ways
  • How do we reflect on trauma in a productive fashion rather than destructive?
    • The balance is tedious because much of inner desire and drive is created from negative circumstances
    • How do you get the productive benefits from trauma without the event?
      • Communicate the lessons you’ve learned to the ones you care about.
      • Don’t internalize the event, share the beneficial effects so others don’t have to experience the trauma.

Fame & Family

  • Hugh’s son (Oscar) thought that if John Lennon could be killed, he believed other famous people, like his father, were in constant danger and didn’t approve of Hugh’s profession
  • No one ever expects to be famous; everyone is just trying to pay the bills
    • Oscar asked his father if he knew he was going to be famous, would he do anything differently? Hugh said no, based on the beautiful people he’s met and the opportunity he can provide for his family.

Maintaining Motivation

  • Consistently getting out of your comfort zone, both recreationally and professionally
    • Finding ways to disconnect from fame
  • Prioritizing the simple things in life, especially friends and family
  • Hugh performed The Greatest Showman on stage 92 times:
    • Everyone in the audience is seeing the show for the first time, they want the best version of the performance
    • Hugh has a high desire for the audience to have an ‘I was there when…’ type moment in every one of his performances
    • He feels nervous before every performance
  • “All spiritual moments in my life have been on stage” – Hugh Jackman
    • Connecting with thousands of strangers on an intimate level helps define Hugh’s life purpose

Death

  • Hugh asks Peter if he fears death:
    • Peter doesn’t fear death but since he’s become a father, he worries if he’s doing the right things with his time or not
  • The Fountain – Movie with a theme surrounding immortality starring Hugh Jackman
    • Hugh’s character struggles with his wife dying in front of him and having no power to save her
    • This when Hugh has ever felt so lost playing a character. It touched on emotions and themes he didn’t personally fully understand yet
    • The emotions you feel are the ‘right’ emotions – there are no appropriate emotions, your reaction is your truth

Wolverine – Logan

  • Hugh believes you have to fall in love with the character you’re playing
    • He feels that Logan is teaching him about the opposite perspective on many of his personality traits which is powerful to experience (e.g., extrovert vs introvert)
  • “In film, you don’t want 1+1=2. That’s science. In art, you want 1+1=3 and spend the movie proving it” -Hugh Jackman quoting Jim Mangold

Longevity

  • Simple answer – If you’re willing to exercise consistently, you’re going to be better off
    • Seeing the negative effects of one week in the hospital being sedentary exposes the positive potency of simply staying active
  • Don’t underestimate the power of relationships – quality doesn’t have to diminish with time
    • “Never worry alone” -Hugh Jackman

Drive with Dr. Peter Attia : , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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