In his new crime thriller Prisoners, Hugh Jackman goes to dark places portraying a father who decides to take matters into his own hands after his daughter disappears and the police investigation stalls.
The 44-year-old star tells ET's Rob Marciano that he tapped into his own paternal instincts for the film, which features a horrific kidnapping scenario that could be ripped from real-life headlines. "It's about as traumatic an experience as a human can go through," Jackman said about parents who have experienced kidnappings.
"I couldn't help it, from reading the script, I felt a pit in my stomach. As a parent, when you hear a story on the news -- anywhere of a child going missing -- you feel sick to the stomach," he said.
Maria Bello -- who plays Jackman's wife in the film -- said she was deeply affected playing such an emotional role. "It is gut-wrenching. You are on the edge of your seat, spiritually, emotionally, physically, psychologically," she said. "You cannot help but to go to different places in your psyche and wonder what you would do, who you would be and how far you would go."
Prisoners -- hitting theaters September 20 -- follows small-town couple Keller and Grace Dover (Jackman and Bello), whose jovial get-together with good friends (played by Terrence Howard and Viola Davis) is ripped apart when their daughters suddenly disappear. Despite help from police and a detective named Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), there is insufficient evidence to detain the prime suspect, Alex Jones (Paul Dano).
Watch the video for more, including Hugh's description of one violent scene with Dano in which the hammer he attacks with lands dangerously close to his co-star.