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First Look At Hugh Jackman As P.T. Barnum In The Greatest Showman

With his time as Wolverine now over, Hugh Jackman has exchanged the adamantium claws for a flashy 19th century suit. This winter, Jackman is playing P.T. Barnum in the musical biopic The Greatest Showman, which will tell the story of how Barnum rose up from poverty and established his infamous circus in New York. The movie has been in development for seven years, but with the release now only months away, we finally have our first look at Jackman's Barnum and some of the other important cast members.

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In the first picture, you can see Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum in extravagant attire in the center ring presumably in mid-song alongside the circus' other colorful circus performers. In a more calm setting, you can see Jackman in more subdued clothes sharing a drink with Zac Efron's character, Barnum's business partner Phillip, while the third picture shows Phillip admiring a trapeze artist named Anne, played by Zendaya, who Phillip falls in love with during the story.

These photos do a good job teasing what kind of a spectacle The Greatest Showman will be, though a trailer will provide an even better idea. Besides Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya, The Greatest Showman's main cast includes Michelle Williams as Barnum's wife Charity, Rebecca Ferguson as opera singer Jenny Lind, Paul Sparks as newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennet, Diahann Caroll as circus slave Joice Heth, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as WD Wheeler and Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Deng Yan.

Along with the exclusive photos, EW spoke with Hugh Jackman about The Greatest Showman, including why it took so long for the movie to get off the ground, which he attributed to Hollywood not being interested in making any kind of musical that wasn't already a well-known property. Jackman said:

Until La La Land, everyone was saying there hasn't been an original musical in 23 years. So the prevailing thought in Hollywood was, unless you have a brand people know, it's not a done thing. So it just took a long time.

While The Greatest Showman started out as a "traditional biopic," director Michael Gracey said they decided to strengthen the title's promise by making it a musical, a decision which "cost" Gracey seven years of his life. Hugh Jackman also revealed that despite its mid-19th century setting, The Greatest Showman's songs will sound more contemporary to make the movie feel timeless. As the actor put it:

We were clear from the beginning that this wouldn't feel like a period movie or a historical piece. What would Barnum do now? I have an almost-12-year-old daughter. I wanted [the movie] to be as exciting for her as listening to Katy Perry's new song.

As the final blockbuster to open in 2017, P.T. Barnum's biopic looks like it will close out the theatrical year with a bang. The Greatest Showman rolls into town on December 25.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.