Hugh Jackman Says He Turned Down ‘Cats,’ Still Hasn’t Seen the Film

“I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people,” he kindly says of “Les Miserables” director Tom Hooper’s movie

Last Updated: April 16, 2020 @ 3:47 PM

While Hugh Jackman and filmmaker Tom Hooper found immense success together with the movie adaptation of “Les Miserables,” Jackman said this week that he chose not to reunite with the filmmaker when offered a role on the now-infamous “Cats.”

In an interview with The Daily Beast about his latest film “Bad Education,” the discussion turned to Jackman’s close relationship with Hooper and whether he was asked to cover himself in digital fur technology. While he acknowledged declining the role, Jackman chose not to dogpile on Hooper’s box office flop. In fact, he hasn’t even seen the movie yet.

“Tom rang me early on because we did ‘Les Mis’ together, and there were a couple of options there based on availability and time, and I really… yeah, I just wasn’t available at the time,” he said in the interview.

“I’m in the theater, man, and I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people–or jumping on bandwagons. I haven’t seen it, and Tom Hooper’s one of the great filmmakers we have,” Jackman told The Daily Beast.

Jackman played the generous but mistreated Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” a film that was Hooper’s follow-up to his Best Picture Oscar-winning biopic “The King’s Speech.” While the film received mixed reviews, it was an award season hit, winning three Golden Globes and three Oscars as well as earning Jackman an Oscar nomination and becoming the first musical in a decade to be nominated for Best Picture.

But Hooper’s return to musicals with “Cats” was a critical and commercial bust, failing to make back its budget with just $76 million grossed at the box office while getting panned by critics and audiences alike. The response was so poor that it was removed from Universal’s For Your Consideration page shortly after release, breaking Hooper’s streak of three consecutive films with at least one Oscar nomination.

Jackman, meanwhile, took a role opposite Allison Janney in “Bad Education,” a true-story dramedy in which he plays a Long Island school superintendent whose image as a respected community pillar is destroyed when a student reporter discovers that he embezzled millions in public funds. The film earned strong reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and will air on HBO on April 25.

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