Hugh Jackman has been the only actor to play Wolverine since Fox’s X-Men film series debuted back in 2000. Jackman’s portrayal of the gruff character with a secret heart of gold won over fans from everywhere and he quickly became a fan-favourite among the group of super-powered mutants, but did you know that he wasn’t originally set to play the beloved character? Tom Cruise stopped a rather famous actor from playing Wolverine.
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Who Was Set to Play Wolverine Before Jackman?
Jackman was third on the list to play the beloved character and wasn’t actually given the role until the very last minute. The first person to be approached for the role was the Gladiator actor Russell Crowe. Due to some creative differences between him and Bryan Singer (the director of X-Men), Crowe backed out of the role and suggested Jackman (who no one had heard of at the time) as his replacement.
Rather than go to Jackman immediately (because at the time he wasn’t too sure about the Australian actor), Singer approached Dougray Scott (who had previously starred in Behind the Lines in 1997 and Deep Impact in 1998). He took the role at first but pulled out due to some timing clashes between the filming clashes between Mission: Impossible II and X-Men, paving the way for Jackman
Tom Cruise’s Influence
Scott has said in an interview that another big factor behind his reasoning for pulling out of X-Men was Tom Cruise, who wouldn’t actually let him play the role:
“We were doing Mission: Impossible (II) and he was like, ‘You’ve got to stay and finish the film’ and I said ‘I will, but I’ll go and do that as well’. For whatever reason, he said I couldn’t. He was a very powerful guy. Other people were doing everything to make it work.”
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Jackman Finally Getting the Role
When Jackman went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon he explained to the talk show host that auditioning for the role had been a very strange experience and had only taken 20 seconds. At the time Scott already had the role and the studio had asked him to do the audition just in case they needed a backup.
He went in with the belief that there was no chance of him ever getting the role, so there was a lot less pressure on him than there might have normally been. It was a bit of a shock for everyone involved, including the actor himself, when it was announced at the last minute that he was going to be the one that would play and not Scott.
He would go on to play the beloved character in 9 X-Men films before retiring from the role after Logan in 2017.
It was difficult for everyone to say goodbye to Jackman’s Wolverine, so when the actor teased his return with Ryan Reynolds in a promotional video for Deadpool 3, fans were over the moon, having not seen the duo interact with each other since X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
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Do you think Tom Cruise did the right thing by stopping the actor from playing Wolverine?