Hugh Jackman is undoubtedly a versatile actor. He has also, in recent years, proved himself an incredibly accomplished musical actor on screen. With much of his early career spent honing his craft in stage musicals he has managed to powerfully translate these skills to films such as Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman. Indeed, such is his acting prowess that, in the latter, he is tasked with believably portraying his character, P.T. Barnum, across a 30 year span or so of life with seemingly no prosthetics or special effects to speak of.
When, in the film's opening sequences we see Hugh Jackman arriving at the house of the girl he ends up marrying, we are asked to suspend our disbelief that the evidently middle-aged Hugh Jackman, is actually a near 20 year-old man looking to set out and make it big in the world. At this point you may be forgiven for having believed that The Greatest Showman is actually some sort of sci-fi film set in a dystopian universe where aspiring circus owners are cursed to age at an accelerated rate; the greater their ambition to charge people to watch trapeze artists, the worse their youthful bodies will be prematurely ravaged by time. This however is apparently not in fact the case and we are simply tasked with accepting Hugh Jackman as being a perennially middle-aged person across all stages of his life. Given this, it is only surprising that Hugh Jackman did not also play P.T. Barnum in the opening childhood sequence.
And, given that the director of the film, Michael Gracey, has confirmed that a sequel to the film is in the works, we can no doubt look forward to Hugh Jackman portraying P.T. Barnum through the latter stages of the circus-master's life. Indeed, assuming that the sequel, which is in the early stages of development, continues on through his life, there will surely come a point, where the Hugh Jackman's portrayal of a perenially middle-aged Barnum, will eventually become more freakish than any of the attractions in the circus he represents. We can only imagine that this will be the crux of the film, that Barnum, as he soldiers on fronting the circus well into his 90s, will become the star attraction, as people travel from far and wide to see the fabled nonagenarian with the face of a well looked after 50 year old.
Fans of the surprise hit musical will be thrilled to hear of a sequel in development. Hugh Jackman has previously stated in interviews that he would of course love to be involved in any potential follow-up film and, speaking to The Sun, Michael Gracey, confirmed that one was in development, saying: "When a movie becomes as big a success as this, it's only natural there is demand for a sequel. So those discussions have started and we are working on one right now."
Personally however, I am also looking forward to the continuation of Dog Boy's story-line. I sense spin-off potential.