Hugh Jackman says his new role in The Son has made him a better parent

Family man and fan favourite Hugh Jackman says his role in new film The Son has made him an even better father.

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"It changed me as a parent," he told HELLO! Canada about the movie, which recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and focuses heavily on mental health.

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The Florian Zeller-directed film, which is based on the director's play Le Fils, is a prequel to The Father, the Oscar-winning movie starring Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins. In The Son, the 53-year-old stars as Peter, a father trying to give his teenage son (played by Zen McGrath) the emotional care and support he wished he had had growing up. The film also features Laura Dern as his ex, and Vanessa Kirby as his new partner.

Hugh knows a lot about parenting himself, since he and actress and producer Deborra-Lee Furness share children Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17.

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"I think I have a little bit of that old school feeling of don't burden your kids with your own anxieties or worries," Hugh continued, explaining how the film had affected him. 

"You should look like you probably know the direction you're heading. It gives them security. But I have a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old and I've learned that if you lead with honesty and vulnerability, it actually is relieving for them."

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman with Ava and Oscar at Disneyland in 2009
Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman with Ava and Oscar at Disneyland in 2009

Deborra-Lee and Hugh with Ava and Oscar at Disneyland in 2009

Hugh and Deborra-Lee have been married for 26 years, and adopted their children after struggling to conceive and suffering multiple miscarriages.

"When I talk to [Ava and Oscar] now about things that are bothering me, I'll say, for example, 'If I seem a bit distant, or a bit off, I'm worried about xyz and sorry if it looks like something else,'" the Australian star said about lessons he picked up from the film. "And they’ll go, 'Oh no, that's fine.' And I see the relief. So that's changed things for me."

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Being close to his children has always been a top priority for Hugh. When Ava was younger, he used to attend her dance recitals.

"But after The Greatest Showman, I had 60 young girls in their tutus coming up to me and my daughter says, 'You are not coming to dance again!'" the Wolverine star told Closer in 2019.

Now, they're more likely to be spotted enjoying a father-daughter stroll and walking their dogs together.

Hugh Jackman with Oscar and Ava in New York in 2009
Hugh Jackman with Oscar and Ava in New York in 2009

Hugh with Oscar and Ava in New York in 2009

No matter what they're doing or where they are, Hugh says he always enjoys chatting to Ava and Oscar.

"It's amazing to just have conversations with them," he's shared in the past.

"When your focus is innately, deeply, 100 per cent [about] these kids in your life and their wellbeing, it just seems to put everything into perspective."