Hugh Jackman Calls For More Mental Health Support In Hollywood

Hugh Jackman's experiences in filming The Son made him speak up about the need for more mental health support in Hollywood.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

hugh jackman
Hugh Jackman in The Son

Making movies is hard. Sometimes, actors have to face circumstances that take a toll on their mental well-being. Hugh Jackman, the 54-year-old actor famous for playing the role of Wolverine in almost every X-Men movie, advocated for more mental health support in Hollywood during an interview with BBC. Jackman said that:

There is a real lack of knowledge and ignorance and shame around the subject and I think it’s something we need to confront, really, really quickly.

According to Hugh Jackman, he was something of a “hot mess” while working on his latest film, The Son. When he started work on the film, which received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, he was already suffering from anxiety thanks to the toll the 2020 pandemic had on him. Then, Jackman’s father died, and his mental health took a nosedive. However, since his dad was the type of man who never missed a day of work in his life, Hugh Jackman chose to continue working on the film instead of taking time off to grieve. 

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The Son

There was an odd similarity between Hugh Jackman’s mental health and that of his character, who is a workaholic trying to juggle a new baby, a new partner, an ex-wife, and a teenage son who is suffering from depression. The film deals with upsetting material, and the movie’s producers did something that Hugh Jackman had never done before: they employed a team of psychiatrists that helped actors talk through the material if they needed to. 

This is not the first time that Hugh Jackman starred in a film that covered difficult or emotional subjects — he played Jean Valjean in the famously dour musical Les Misérables, and the X-Men film Logan dealt with some dark and surprisingly complex themes. But it’s the first time that Hugh Jackman had ever seen a genuine concern for the mental health of the cast from the production over material that might cause them distress. 

Hugh Jackman had his own therapist to help him with the issues he was going through, but after his experience on The Son, he thinks that more studios should provide mental health care to their actors. According to Jackman, it would be a sign from filmmakers that they care about each member of the cast and crew as a “whole person,” who needs to be taken care of beyond simply paying them for their work. 

The Son had a limited theatrical run on November 25, and it is set to receive a wide release on January 20, 2023. Hugh Jackman’s performance, despite his mental health struggles, has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor. Jackman will be competing against Brendan Fraser’s performance in The Whale, Austin Butler’s starring role in Elvis, Bill Nighly’s role in Living, and Jeremy Pope for his performance in The Inspection