Hugh Jackman risked his health to secure funding for his movie musical The Greatest Showman back in 2015 by ignoring doctor’s orders not to sing.
The X-Men star had been due to attend a big New York City showcase for 20th Century Fox studio bosses and potential investors to convince them to back his long-gestating project, a biopic about famous conman-turned-showman P.T. Barnum, when he discovered he wouldn’t be able to properly perform for the attendees, having undergone skin cancer surgery on his nose the day before.
Jackman broke the news to his disappointed director, Michael Gracey, over the phone: “‘Michael, I have some good news and some bad news,'” the actor recalled to Variety. “‘The operation was a huge success; that’s no problem. But I’m in the surgeon’s office, and he’s not letting me leave until I call you and say there’s no way I can sing tomorrow.'”
Jackman and Gracey decided against telling their invited guests until the big presentation began, and instead had Broadway regular Jeremy Jordan sing the movie star’s parts during the special read-through, as Hugh acted it out in silence.
However, the Australian was unable to keep quiet for the entire presentation, and decided to take his chances by belting out the power ballad From Now On, much to the crowd’s delight – even though he could have split his stitches, caught an infection, or possibly caused some disfigurement as his nose had yet to heal.
“Everyone jumped up on top of their seats,” Gracey said. “It was a euphoric moment. The man that everyone had come to hear sing was finally singing. That’s when we got the greenlight.”
Luckily, Hugh’s recovery wasn’t affected by the impromptu song, and the risk allowed the two pals to finally move forward with their seven-year-old passion project.
The film, which also stars Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya, opens in theaters later this month (Dec17).