On this 20th anniversary of the first X-Men film, here’s one crazy story of how Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine.
The X-Men film franchise enters its 20th year on July 14. In the first X-Men film, Patrick Stewart stars as Professor X, Ian McKellen as Magneto, James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke as Jean Gray, Halle Berry as Storm and most importantly Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Jackman was a last-minute replacement when Scottish actor Dougray Scott was forced to cast out. Scott was filming Mission Impossible II and had to go to the X-Men immediately. But due to production delays, M: I2 was pushed, and the 20th Century Fox, which was heavily dependent on the success of the X-Men, could no longer wait for him and cast the relatively unknown Jackman as his replacement.
Director Bryan Singer had tried his might to push Wolverine’s scenes till a later date to accommodate Scott’s schedule, but it didn’t work out anyhow. The report continued, “Even though X-Men had begun production late last month, Fox was holding out hope until the last minute that Paramount would be able to give a stop date for Scott. In the last minute casting change, Jackman’s deal was finalized late last week so he could be fitted for his claws over the weekend.”
In a recent interview to the Daily Telegraph, Scott put the blame squarely on Tom Cruise. “Tom Cruise didn’t let me do it,” he said. “We were doing Mission: Impossible and he was like, ‘You’ve got to stay and finish the film’, and I said I would, but I’ll go and do that as well. For whatever reason, he said I couldn’t. He was a compelling guy. Other people were doing everything to make it work.”
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Jackman said he auditioned for the piece, but was given the full nine months later. “I got this part nine months after I first auditioned. “I only auditioned back after Dougray was trapped with Mission Impossible II, so I didn’t know who was going for it nor expected to get it,” he said.
“Five weeks into the shoot of X-Men, I was on the road to being fired …” Jackman said during his Hugh Jackman. The Man. The Music. The Show shows in London. “The head of the studio pulled me aside for lunch and said all were worried at the studio. He said he didn’t see the camera at the audition.”
He continued, “And the next day the directors pulled me aside and said the same thing. I’m thinking, oh, this is the talk you get before you get fired. And that was the biggest break of my career.”
The X-Men series spawned 12 instalments, with a spin-off of the final film, New Mutants, set to be released later this year.