Even though his time as the Wolverine will end next year with Logan, Hugh Jackman is not taking any sort of hiatus. The actor is already set to star as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, and he recently joined the star-studded animated film, Larrikins. After that, though, it looks like Jackman will venture into the young-adult genre.
The last few years seen a number of YA adaptations come to theaters to varying degrees of success. The Jennifer Lawrence-led Hunger Games franchise is by far the most fruitful of its kind, far outpacing its closest competition with the likes of The Divergent Series and The Fifth Wave. But these YA films need not be relegated to apocalyptic scenarios or future dystopias to be successful, as adaptations of author John Green’s novels The Faults in Our Stars and — to a lesser degree — Paper Towns have demonstrated. And it is in that vein of the genre that Jackman has set his sights.
According to THR, Jackman has joined the adaptation of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Written by author and Smoke Signals screenwriter Sherman Alexie, the YA novel follows an aspiring Native American cartoonist who leaves his reservation and enters an all-white high school. Jackman’s role has not been revealed, though it stands to reason he will fill the role of an educator. Alexie will pen the screenplay, with producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Jack Leslie (Deadpool) working alongside Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner (The Fault in Our Stars).
This adaptation stands as a potentially refreshing entry in the YA genre. Instead of striving to create action spectacle or the next timeless romance, Alexie’s book focuses on an issue relevant to now and to the target audience. The novel remains a favorite among middle-school teachers for its incredibly realistic perspective on weighty issues like race, poverty, and bulimia.
When he’s not skewering bad guys with his adamantium claws, Jackman is best known for the charisma he brings to a wide range of roles. Last year, he brought life to the nefarious Blackbeard in Pan, and just a few months later he was seen as the stubborn coach in the feel-good sports movie Eddie the Eagle. Given his ability to play characters that are larger than life or more reminiscent of real life, a role like this one should be a nice fit for him.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is currently without a release date, but we will keep you updated as this project develops.