'Missing Link' star Hugh Jackman: I wasted three years of my life (exclusive)

Hugh Jackman says he only felt like he’d found his true self when he discovered acting.

Speaking to Yahoo to promote his new animated film Missing Link, in which he voices adventurer Sir Lionel Frost who faces an identity crisis of his own, Jackman admits to feeling like he wasted years of his life before he found his stage career.

“Until I found acting as something… the moment I went and started acting school, not knowing I would have a career, was the first moment I felt like I’d found my tribe,” the 50-year-old actor explains.

In Missing Link, Frost goes on an expedition to track down Sasquatch to prove himself to his explorer peers, who see him as an upstart. When he finds Mr. Link – superbly voiced by Zach Galifianakis – he discovers a kindred spirit who is also looking for his own place in the world, and they both embark on a globe-trotting adventure to find the Bigfoot’s true home.

Hugh Jackman voices Sir Lionel Frost in <i>Missing Link</i> (Lionsgate)
Hugh Jackman voices Sir Lionel Frost in Missing Link (Lionsgate)

Jackman came to acting during his third year of studying for a Communication degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, when he took a drama course to make up additional credits.

“I remember it very clearly,” the Logan star tells us. “I was doing another degree and we were doing a play, and we went and I was being billeted by people at another university, they were studying acting. And the moment I walked into the house, I was like ‘I’ve just wasted three years of my life, doing the wrong course.'”

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“As soon as you’re with the people who are into the same things as you, you just go ‘ahh’. And I think that’s what this movie is about. For these guys, that desire we all have… my character is trying to be accepted by people who are actually not his people. He thinks they are, and he’s doing everything he can to be liked by them, and accepted by them.”

Frost is lovable buffoon in the charming animated film from the studio that brought us Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, and Coraline. Jackman affects a cut glass English accent for the role, and the Australian says he didn’t have to look far for inspiration for Frost’s upper crust voice.

Frost gets the measure of Mr. Link in <i>Missing Link</i> (Lionsgate)
Frost gets the measure of Mr. Link in Missing Link (Lionsgate)

“My father is a Cambridge graduate and English, my mother is English, and so when I was growing up it was certainly not uncommon to hear things like ‘wipe that supercilious grin off your face’. We used to have elevenses on Sunday morning, we were very British, but living in Australia.”

“And then, of course, I’ve just done twenty years of movies with Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, so if I can’t do Sir Lionel Frost then there’s something wrong!”

Missing Link hits cinemas on Friday, 5 April.