Having put his signature role of Wolverine to bed with the triumphant ‘Logan’, Hugh Jackman is getting back to his first love: singing and dancing.
Yes, this may still surprise some fans of the ‘X-Men’ movies, but prior to landing the iconic Marvel superhero role Jackman was largely unknown as a screen actor, having made his name largely through musical theatre.
The 48-year old Australian superstar has already shown off his musical prowess on screen in 2012’s ‘Les Misérables,’ and now he’s set to do so again in all-new big screen musical ‘The Greatest Showman,’ for which we now have the first trailer.
The feature debut of director Michael Gracey, ‘The Greatest Showman’ casts Jackman as the legendary PT Barnum, founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, and widely acknowledged as the father of circus, sideshow and carnival culture.
From a musical point of view, it’s fair to regard this something of a teaser, in that we don’t get to hear a peep of Jackman’s singing, and see only a few brief glimpses of him dancing.
However, the trailer does set the scene for the tale of an unfulfilled 19th century office worker who finds himself unemployed, and dreams up an ambitious new line of work: “show business,” a term he claims to have made up himself. Barnum, of course, was notorious for his grandiose claims (although he did not, as is often thought, coin the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute”).
It certainly looks like ‘The Greatest Showman’ will be quite the show in its own right. Jackman is joined on screen by Michelle Williams as Barnum’s wife Charity, with Zac Efron – another actor well-versed with singing and dancing, thanks to the ‘High School Musical’ movies – and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ actor Zendaya also appearing.
The original songs have been composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Academy Award winners responsible for the music in ‘La La Land,’ so we’re doubtless in for a toe-tapping time – and with the trailer emphasising Barnum’s celebration of people typically regarded ‘freaks,’ we may have a welcome progressive theme at the heart of it all.
‘The Greatest Showman’ opens in UK cinemas on 1 January 2018.