Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman, who will play the apostle Paul in an upcoming film, has opened up about his Christian faith and revealed that he seeks to honor God with his performances.
In a recent interview with Parade magazine, the 46-year-old Australian native first revealed that he was inspired to go into acting as a young boy after watching pastors speak in church.
"I'm a Christian. I was brought up very religious. I used to go to different evangelists' [revival] tents all the time," he said, "When I was about 13, I had a weird premonition that I was going to be onstage, like the preachers I saw."
When asked what acting gives him that he "really needs", Jackman said, "That's the best question I've ever been asked. Peace. There are things driving me that aren't all healthy-[needing] approval and respect to fill some hole who-knows-where in me. Am I worthy? All those fears. Through acting, I'm able to find a level of bliss and peace and calm and joy. And it feels natural."
The X-Men actor also identified himself as a "religious person" who dedicates each one of his performances to God.
"This is going to sound weird to you. In Chariots of Fire the runner Eric Liddell says, 'When I run, I feel His pleasure.' And I feel that pleasure when I act and it's going well, particularly onstage," Jackman said.
"I feel what everyone's searching for, the feeling that unites us all. Call it 'God.' Before I go onstage every night, I pause and dedicate the performance to God, in the sense of 'Allow me to surrender.'
"When you allow yourself to surrender to the story, to the character, to the night, to the audience, transcendence happens. And when that happens, there is nothing like it on the planet. It's the moment people experience when they fall in love, which is equally frightening and exciting. That's what it feels like."
While he may now adhere to Christianity, Jackman told Parade back in 2009 that he belonged to the School of Practical Philosophy, a belief system that focuses in on the power of wisdom.
"I just find the evangelical church too, well, restrictive. But the School of Practical Philosophy is nonconfrontational," he said at the time. "We believe there are many forms of scripture," he added. "What is true is true and will never change, whether it's in the Bible or in Shakespeare. It's about oneness. Its basic philosophy is that if the Buddha and Krishna and Jesus were all at a dinner table together, they wouldn't be arguing. There is an essential truth. And we are limitless."
As reported by the Gospel Herald back in April, the Wolverine star will play St. Paul in a forthcoming film about the Apostle's Damascus road conversion, ministry to the gentiles, and imprisonment.
According to Deadline, Jackman will also produce the film alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck under their Pearl Street Films production company.
The Apostle Paul started as one of Christianity's greatest persecutors and eventually emerged as one of the most prominent heroes of the Christian faith. Following his dramatic conversion, Paul traveled throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, spreading the gospel, and providing encouragement to the early Christians. Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ by the Romans, about 64 or 65 A.D., and is credited with writing 13 of the 27 New Testament books.
The Apostle Paul is slated for 2016 release.