Scoop with Hugh Jackman

In “Scoop,” the new contemporary comedy from writer/director Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman plays a handsome British aristocrat, Peter Lyman, who's suspected of being a serial killer.

Smart comedy

Scoop is a smart, funny, and witty comedy, with a couple of dark moments. Im a huge fan of Woody Allens movies, and when I read the script, it kind of reminded me of some of his earlier comedies. The whole thing was a real thrill, and a great opportunity. Im forever grateful for it.

Plot's premise

In the plot, Scarlett Johansson and Woodys characters get a tip that my character might be a serial killer. But my character happens to be a budding politician and the son of a Lord. So hes in every way the opposite of a person you might suspect to be a serial killer. The evidence starts to mount, Scarletts character starts to fall in love with mine, and it gets very complicated.

Peter Lyman

I saw Peter as someone who youd find in the pages of Hello! or OK! magazines in England. Unlike American tabloids, these have [coverage of] the social set, aristocrats and their offspring. Peter is from a very well-established family; hes a debonair man about town who dates the latest models.

Involvement with Scarletts character

She gets this tip from a ghost that Peter might be a serial killer, and shes doggedly chasing it; she and Woodys character try to investigate my character. Peters world is quite stitched up and very formal. When he meets Sondra [although] he [initially] knows her as Jade Spence hes completely intrigued by her and a little bit knocked sideways by her. Shes very beguiling, beautiful, spunky, charming, and very forthright. And dare I say it, he starts to fall in love with her.

Being cast by Woody Allen

I got a phone call from my agent saying that the casting director for Woody Allen wanted to see me for a movie shooting in England, which seemed odd to me; a Woody Allen movie shooting in London sounded like a contradiction. I was also told not to be offended if my meeting with Woody only took two minutes.

Well, the meeting actually took about three minutes, so it obviously went pretty well. He was sort of like, Well, Ive got this movie and I know youve probably got more important things to do. But if you want to read it you probably dont, but if you do and you like it, then, you know, Id love you to do it. And that was pretty much it. It was, and continued to be, easy. Scoop was one of my favorite film experiences to date.

Allen as director and actor

Working with Woody Allen”I just love saying that, Working with Woody Allen I did have to pinch myself on several occasionsWorking with him was terrific, because the atmosphere that he creates on set is incredibly easy. Its very calm, and all of a sudden, at 3:00 in the afternoon, he sends you home almost like bankers hours.

He doesnt do a lot of takes; theres not a lot of rehearsal. I have to kiss Scarlett in this movie its a tough job, but someones got to do it and Woody didnt do a lot of takes. However, it was good for when I came home to my wife; Darling, one take, thats all it was

Ad-libs

The big problem for me was that Woody likes to ad-lib occasionally, particularly on his lines. Hes fine if you want to ad-lib something. Of course, every time he ad-libbed, it was funny and it was different and I found myself laughing, and hed occasionally get a little upset with me. Hed be like, No, no, no, please, my character is boorish; hes not funny. I said, But if you keep ad-libbing like that and Im in the shot, Im going to laugh. Youve got to be a little more boring.

Woody and Scarlett

It was also terrific to watch Woody and Scarlett working together. They have a unique rapport. I can see why he had asked Scarlett to come back and work [with him] again [after Match Point]. They are very funny together on-set, and they made everybody laugh a lot.

Working with Scarlett

Shes kind of extraordinary, really, because the girl can do anything. On film, she just lights up. On the set, wed sing together; she can sing like an angel. She can dance, too. Pretty much everyone on the crew had a crush on her.

Shes unbelievably down-to-earth, incredibly talented, very poised. There was not a hard days work on the entire movie, working with her. Ive just worked with her again, on a Chris Nolan movie [The Prestige].

Playing ambiguous character

Since the movie is a mystery as well as a comedy, youre following their relationship and youre not sure if he really is a killer or not. Im Australian but I have English parents, and I have spent a lot of time there, and they dont let you see very much; it takes a long time before you really get to know an English person. So I wanted to make Peter charming and also a little reserved. That way, hes a little more enigmaticand this can keep the audience guessing right to the end.

Shooting in London

Woody is beloved over there; the actors that we had on Scoop were incredible. I mean, people would come in for the day that were knighted–Sir this and that. They would come in because they just wanted to work with Woody Allen. He was bowled over. But he said, I feel bad; all I have to give them is one line. Theres not a lot of film work that happens in London, and certainly not a lot of films of the caliber of a Woody Allen movie. So, everyone working on it felt privileged and honored.

Looking at London through fresh eyes

Woody doesnt like direct sunlight when he shoots outside. Direct sunlight can be very harsh; he thinks it makes for a slight ugliness on the actors. So this was the first time that Ive ever worked in England where everyone would be thrilled when it was overcast and gray. I dont know if hed been setting out sacrifices to the gods, but it was like four weeks of straight cloudy weather with hardly any rain extraordinary. Normally, people complain a lot there about the weather, but I was around a lot of very happy people.