Last night, Hugh Jackman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and what a performance he gave. He came out full of energy, he told the audience about how he came from starring in the play Oklahoma! to becoming the Wolverine, and he revealed to us the real reason as to why he’s leaving the X-Men franchise after his next solo Wolverine movie, Logan, which comes out next Friday. I thought it was a joke at first, as the reason he gives is comical at first mention. Jerry Seinfeld was the reason. Jerry friggin Seinfeld.
Hugh Jackman goes into more detail (after a few hysterical reenactments of how Jimmy Fallon imagined the scene going down between Hugh and Jerry) about what Seinfeld said to him that made him really think about the future of his career. Jackman says he asked Seinfeld as to why he stopped making his show (Seinfeld) after the final 9th season. In the words of Hugh Jackman, Seinfeld replied, “Look, when you’re creating something, it’s very important not to run yourself dry; it’s not about finishing on top necessarily but making sure you’ve creatively got something left, which propels you to what’s next.” Jackman goes on to say that that was the tipping point, that “it was Jerry” who helped him think of the idea for Logan. He knew his friend was right, and that it was time for him to leave his favorite character behind after one last outing.
This reasoning for leaving a franchise is relatable to actors and actresses everywhere. In the wise words of Jerry Seinfeld, running yourself dry of the creative juices can really affect your future. I see more franchises sprout up every year, whether they be original or derived from a book series, etc. But what I’m trying to say is that maybe Seinfeld makes a valid point, that maybe staying too long with the same character can be bad for an actor or actress, as it doesn’t allow them to truly explore other characters as deeply as they explore the one they are stuck with for a few more movies or seasons.
For example, ever since Jennifer Lawrence finished with The Hunger Games franchise, I feel like she’s lost that edge she had when she first came onto the scene. Maybe it’s the recent selection of movies, or maybe it’s what Seinfeld said to Hugh Jackman: spending all your creative juices in one place can be detrimental to your career. That’s not to say Lawrence’s career is over (far from it), but it’s possible that working on The Hunger Games (even if only for three movies) sprouted this creative void that she can’t seem to fill right now.
Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for over 17 years, but every actor and actress is a different person. Some actors and actresses have the ability to engage completely in other characters while working with a franchise–for Hugh, I think 17 years was almost taking it too far–and some just can’t do it as successfully. That’s why it’s important for actors and actresses to heed the advice of a funny guy in this case and realize when your creative juices need some rejuvenating.