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Hugh Jackman explains how his father’s death and filming ‘The Son’ changed his parenting style

“I think I’m a different parent now because of it,” he told Stephen Colbert.
/ Source: TODAY

Hugh Jackman says his role in his new movie, “The Son,” hit very close to home.

Jackman plays a man who has a young child with a new partner after he left his wife. His 17-year-old son with his ex-wife experiences a mental health crisis, prompting the dad to search for ways to help him.

Jackman has been married for 26 years to Deborra-Lee Furness, with whom he has two kids, Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17. He said taking the role, and the death of his own father during filming, changed him.

“I think I’m a different parent now because of it,” he said Jan. 16 on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

“I think I’m more open to being vulnerable with them saying things like ‘I’m not sure,’ or realizing that sometimes I may be preoccupied by something going on with me — like I’m preoccupied about the opening of ‘The Music Man,’ for example, and then realizing that they may think they’ve done something and just me not communicating because I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to burden them with that,’ doesn’t help. So now I find myself saying, ‘Hey guys, sorry if I feel distant, I’m really nervous about this thing and if I’ve gone off my head, it’s nothing to do with you.’”

Jackman, 54, said he thinks his family appreciates his approach to communicating more.

“Just because you’re the father — you don’t have to know, you don’t have to know what to do or what the best thing is, and it’s OK to say that and then, of course, they use that and wrap you around their little finger,” he joked.

Jackman also said his own father's death while he shot “The Son,” compelled him to reflect on being a father and how he approached his part in the film.

“I think I was just confronting a lot of things as a parent, fears that you have, and I just wasn’t sleeping very well,” he said. “I found myself thinking a lot and in a lot (of) emotional turmoil. And I think it was just part of giving over ... giving over to the story, and I just sort of went with it.”

Jackman has been open about his struggles as a son. In December, he revealed he had been going to therapy to resolve issues related to his mother leaving him in Australia when he was 8.

“Most importantly, it’s helping me to be more relational with the people I love in my life, and really understanding and living in their shoes and being clear to be able to see them,” Australia's Who magazine reporting him saying last month.

“The Son,” which also stars Laura Dern, Anthony Hopkins and Zan McGrath, opens Jan. 20.