“How he has ever spoke to me again, I have no idea!”: Hugh Jackman Frightened His Co-Star Into Falling Down After 1 Scene in His Most Brutal Film Yet

Hugh Jackman evoked fear in his co-star with improvisation, during a violent scene in Denis Villeneuve’s movie.

“How he has ever spoke to me again, I have no idea!”: Hugh Jackman Frightened His Co-Star Into Falling Down After 1 Scene in His Most Brutal Film Yet

From playing the mutant superhero Logan in Marvel’s X-Men movies to appearing in the musical drama The Greatest Showman, Aussie actor Hugh Jackman has flexed some acting muscles throughout his career. But what stood out as one of his grittiest films, is Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. 

Image via Prisoners - Official Trailer 1Hugh Jackman in Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners

Apart from the Dune helmer’s vision that turned the movie into a grand success, it was also Hugh Jackman’s improvisation during a violent scene that made the movie even more exciting to watch. However, according to reports, while Jackman’s improv worked wonders for the scene, it also made his co-star fall to the ground in fear.

Hugh Jackman’s Scary Improvisation in Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners

While people know Denis Villeneuve for his sci-fi epic Dune, and Hugh Jackman for his association with Marvel as Wolverine, only a few know about the duo’s collaboration in the 2013 crime thriller Prisoners. Directing the project, Villeneuve starred Jackman alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Paul Dano, in his gritty crime drama.

Prisoners followed the story of the abduction of two young girls leading to the search for their abductor. Eventually, as the movie progressed, audiences witnessed the father of one of the victims taking things into his own hands and beginning to look for the perpetrator.

The film initially enjoyed critical and commercial success following its release in 2013, which found an unexpected resurgence after being added to Netflix. While the movie overall captivated fans, the one scene that stood out as particularly impressive was Jackman’s improvisation.
Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover in the film.

Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover and Paul Dano as Alex Jones in Prisoners

Garnering praise for his incredible performance in Prisoners, Hugh Jackman later stunned fans after he revealed how he had improvised the intense scene with Paul Dano while filming. Appearing on SiriusXM, Jackman admitted completely improvising the scene, much to his co-star’s genuine surprise. Admitting how they were shooting the interrogation scene for 3 hours before Denis Villeneuve asked Jackman to ad-lib, the actor recalled what happened next.

Hugh Jackman’s Improvisation Scared the Life Out of Paul Dano

Speaking to SiriusXM in 2022, Hugh Jackman addressed his 2013 movie and recalled how his particular interrogation scene that got hailed the most, was all off-script. Offering his honest take on the scene, the actor claimed shooting it for three hours before Denis Villeneuve begged him to improvise, which eventually led Jackman to scare the life out of his co-star Paul Dano.

There’s a really intense scene with Paul Dano where I’m interrogating him, and we’d been doing it for about three hours and I was absolutely exhausted. We’d done this take and deep down I was like, ‘Yeah, we crushed it, that was it.’ And I remember Denis coming over and [he says], ‘I need to talk to you… I need you to go there.’ I said, ‘That wasn’t there?’ He goes, ‘No, that was not there […] I really need you to go there.’

Admitting to have no idea how to improvise the scene to make it perfect, Hugh Jackman revealed how the cameras started rolling and he gradually started figuring out a way. Eventually, the scene sees Jackman’s Keller Dover threatening Dano’s Alex Jones with a hammer and hitting the wall next to his head to intimidate him. Surprisingly, since Paul Dano was unaware of the improvisation, he was actually scared to death during the scene.
The brutal hammer-torture scene in the movie.
The brutal hammer-torture scene that Jackman improvised in PrisonersSo we did another take, and as he was rolling film, I was like, ‘I’ve got nothing left! I’ve absolutely no idea… All I’ll say is the next scene of the movie was completely ad-libbed and is in the movie. And how Paul Dano has ever spoken to me again, I have no idea.”
Joking about how he made Paul Dano fall to his knees during the scene with his intense performance, Hugh Jackman shared the experience. Dano on the other hand, despite having an intimidating experience, came out of the scene with nothing but respect for his co-star.

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