Playing Wolverine in the X-Men movies helps Hugh Jackman get preferential treatment at Robert De Niro's New York restaurant - because the manager is a huge fan.

The Aussie actor admits he feels like a superstar every time he dines at De Niro's restaurant because the tough manager treats him like one.

He says, "I used to go to that restaurant quite a bit and I'd seen actors in there. I mean this place is owned by De Niro and VINNY's the manager so it's not like he's unaccustomed to seeing actors.

"The waiter came up to me and said, 'You're the guy who plays Wolverine.' It was about the fourth time I'd been there.

"He said, 'Vinny is a huge fan and he really wants to see you and he's over there behind the counter. I look over there and there's Vinny ducking behind his little booth.

"It took him 10 minutes to come and see me. He came over in a sweat and we chatted. He's a huge fan. He took his shirt off in the middle of his restaurant and he turned around and he had a full colour tattoo of Wolverine on his back. I was thrilled.

"We took pictures of him and sent copies to him. I think I eat there for free now."

01/05/2003 09:29