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Hugh Jackman in new musical movie

Thu Oct 6, 6:47 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Australian actor

Hugh Jackman is to star in a new movie aimed at reviving the musical genre in Hollywood based on a novel by the daughter of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the industry press said.

Jackman, who is currently starring on Broadway in his Tony-winning role as Aussie dancer Peter Allen in "The Boy From Oz," will take the lead role in and produce Walt Disney Co's version of "If You Could See Me Now," Daily Variety said.

Disney bought the film rights from 23-year-old novelist Cecelia Ahern, who tells the story of a six-year-old boy who has an imaginary friend who begins a romance with the youngster's aunt.

Jackman will play the imaginary friend who finally reveals himself to the aunt in the movie that the actor will co-produce along with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron -- who produced the hit 2002 musical "Chicago" -- and John Palermo.

"We've been combing material for a great idea that's translatable to a musical, and Hugh really responded to this book," Palermo told Variety. "Our goal with these films is to help reinvent the movie musical."

"Chicago," which won six

Oscars, including best supporting actress for
Catherine Zeta-Jones
in 2003, started a revival for major musicals, which went out of fashion in Hollywood in the 1960s.

Disney decided earlier this year to use Jackman's multiple talents in a musical and went on to buy the rights to Ahern's book, which will be published in the United States by Hyperion early next year.

Jackman, 36, has starred in such movies as last year's vampire thriller "Van Helsing," comic book hero flicks "X-men" and "X2" (2003).


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