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Australia, Australia, Australia!

340x Forgive the headline, but I can't see the title for Baz Luhrmann's new epic and not think of the classic Monty Python routine. Anyway, the Nicole Kidman-Hugh Jackman starrer opens tomorrow and Jackman will also be gracing our cover this week. I was able to score some time with him last week and found him to be every bit the charming, funny, polite gent he's rumored to be. And did I mention tall? I also uncovered his dirty little secret--he's not as perfect as you all think. Yeah, yeah, he's got a 12-pack of abs and a gorgeous face, but he pointed out something to me I'd never noticed before...he has VIRTUALLY NO EARLOBES!!

This came up when he was discussing his turn in The Prestige, where he played master magician Robert Angier and the bumbling actor Angier hires to double for him. Jackman's performance is so fun and convincing, I still know people to this day who think it's a different actor. What's even more impressive is that Jackman pulls off this feet largely with his voice and body language--he has virtually no prosthetics. Just veneers on two teeth, a slightly different nose, and--as he put it--"They gave me big earlobes because I have no earlobes."

Jackman is such a great actor and, in a weird way, underrated because he's so damn good-looking I think people don't notice how great his performances are. Though I have mixed feelings about the movie, I do hope he gets the attention he deserves for Australia. Ironically, the lead role in the film was supposed to be played by Russell Crowe with Jackman taking a smaller part. When Crowe dropped out, Jackman took the lead. This isn't the first time he's stepped into a role vacated by someone else--his big break as Wolverine in The X-Men came about after Scottish actor Dougray Scott got stuck on filming Mission Impossible II. Jackman himself said, about replacing Crowe, "As we've learned with Wolverine, I'm really good at coming off the bench."

--Jenelle Riley

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