If you saw in your preferred social media sidebar today that Hugh Jackman’s face was trending and wondered what that could possibly be about, there’s no need to wonder or worry; it’s just all of our usual concern trolling bullshit spewed up yet again, but this time spewed on a different gender. Does that make it less shitty or more our business? No, dummy, no one but the 4Chan regulars think that’s what feminism means.
Yesterday, Hugh Jackman posted a picture to his Instagram account. The picture features him being excited about some fish, while wearing what is probably his own human face.
Most of the 2700+ comments on that picture fall somewhere between “WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS FACE?” and the ever-helpful concern troll version of “What happened to his face,” “I hope he’s okay.” And then there were the people popping in to tell everyone to calm their shit, it’s probably just makeup for Wolverine 3’s “Old Man Logan” look.
So what is going on in that picture? I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. Maybe it’s makeup, but from the look of it, Jackman’s just been on vacation, jumping off cliffs and eating more fish. (I could absolutely be wrong there, but we haven’t heard anything about shoot dates since earlier this summer.)
So sure, maybe it’s prosthetics. Or maybe it’s lighting. Have you ever looked at yourself in the bathroom mirror and thought you looked exceptionally haggard today, then checked out your reflection in your car mirror and not understood its beautifully lit witchcraft? Have you wondered why one of the very best pictures of Hillary Clinton ever taken was with Kim Kardashian’s (heavily, specially lit) cell phone? Lighting is basically more important to how we think we look than our actual faces are. Does Hugh Jackman’s fish-filled cabin up there look like it has particularly great lighting? Does he look like he cares? He’s got dinner waiting; maybe he doesn’t care how puffy his eyes look.
Or maybe, you know what? Maybe he’s just a 47-year-old man who recently announced a fifth bout of skin cancer. Maybe our idea of what a person who’s been around for nearly 50 years looks like has been warped by lighting, contouring, and every level of surgical procedure. Because I hate to be the one to burst the bubble of Hollywood naiveté, but whatever actor you have in your mind of someone who has aged “gracefully,” without having work done? Yeah, that person has had work done. Maybe not full-on surgery or even injections, but this industry is built on a wide range of exorbitantly paid dermatologists and very regular “procedures” that are probably way more invasive and gross than most of us think.
On top of that, pretty much anytime you’ve seen Hugh Jackman on camera, he’s been digitally altered. That’s just how these things work. And if you’re saying, “But what about red carpets? No one’s digitally altering his interviews,” let me redirect you back to our old friends up there, lighting and contour makeup. Chances are, Hugh Jackman doesn’t look like what you think he looks like. He probably looks like a 50-year-old man.
And sure, maybe he has spent too much time in the Australian sun. Or maybe he IS in makeup. We don’t know. But the celebrity Instagram equivalent of “you look tired” is a pretty awful way to get a person’s name trending on Facebook.