Hugh Jackman, who is set to play St Paul in an upcoming film about the apostle’s life, has spoken out about his own religious faith.
In a candid interview with Parade magazine, Jackman said he was “brought up very religious”.
“I’m a Christian. I used to go to different evangelists’ [revival] tents all the time. When I was about 13, I had a weird premonition that I was going to be onstage, like the preachers I saw,” he said.
Jackman added that acting gives him a sense of peace. “There are things driving me that aren’t all healthy—[needing] approval and respect to fill some hole who-knows-where in me,” he said.
“Am I worthy? All those fears. Through acting, I’m able to find a level of bliss and peace and calm and joy. And it feels natural.”
He also called himself a “religious person” and said he dedicates each one of his performances to God.
“This is going to sound weird to you. In Chariots of Fire the runner Eric Liddell says, ‘When I run, I feel His pleasure.’ And I feel that pleasure when I act and it’s going well, particularly onstage,” Jackman said.
“I feel what everyone’s searching for, the feeling that unites us all. Call it ‘God.’ Before I go onstage every night, I pause and dedicate the performance to God, in the sense of ‘Allow me to surrender.’
“When you allow yourself to surrender to the story, to the character, to the night, to the audience, transcendence happens. And when that happens, there is nothing like it on the planet. It’s the moment people experience when they fall in love, which is equally frightening and exciting. That’s what it feels like.”
Jackman has previously distanced himself from the evangelical church, telling Parade magazine in 2009 that he found it too “restrictive”.
It is thought that his new film, Apostle Paul, will focus on Paul’s conversion, his ministry and his imprisonment. Jackman will also produce the film, along with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The screenplay is currently being written by Matt Cook.