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The Untold Truth Of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine

Comic book movie actors come and go, but legends are forever. Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is a great example. It's tough to argue that there could have ever been a better performer to bring the beloved X-Men character to the big screen. While Jackman may be tall and handsome — two qualities Logan isn't known for in the comics — he won over his biggest critics through his impressive performance and dedication to the part.

Jackman announced his retirement from the role after 2017's "Logan" (per Empire). But he went back on this decision to star in "Deadpool 3" alongside Ryan Reynolds. It's undoubtedly a case of unfinished business, since the previous pairing of Jackman's Wolverine and Reynolds' Deadpool in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" didn't exactly go down like a treat. This is the do-over that fans (and probably the actors themselves) have wanted for years. What better moment could there be to look back on Jackman's time playing the cigar-chomping mutant? From his wife urging him to turn down the part to the unexpected role Tom Cruise played in his casting, this is the untold truth of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.

Tom Cruise influenced the Wolverine casting process

While "X-Men" might have been a popular franchise for Marvel Comics at the tail end of the 1990s, comic book movies weren't yet in vogue. After the disastrous reception of 1997's "Batman & Robin" shook Hollywood to its core, the superhero genre became Kryptonite for actors. No one wants a box office bomb destroying their career, after all, and cape-and-cowl movies seemed particularly likely to explode. Despite this sense of foreboding, many actors were linked to the part of Wolverine at this time, with some openly throwing their hat into the "X-Men" casting ring.

Before Hugh Jackman grew out his mutton chops and learned to say "bub," Scottish actor Dougray Scott was cast as Wolverine in Bryan Singer's inaugural production. Unfortunately, his work on "Mission: Impossible II" was running overtime, and he was forced to drop out of "X-Men" by, of all people, Tom Cruise. "Tom Cruise didn't let me do it," Scott revealed to The Telegraph in 2020. "We were doing 'Mission: Impossible' 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." And so Jackman snikt-ed his way into the movie and the hearts of millions.

His Wolverine audition was 20 seconds long

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine casting caught many people in the movie industry off-guard — including the Australian actor himself. On "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Jackman revealed that his Wolverine audition was only 20 seconds long. He saw it as nothing more than a box-ticking exercise on the studio's part, since he knew that Dougray Scott had already been cast in the role.

"When I walked into that room, I was pretty sure that I wasn't playing the role," Jackman said. "It was a weird audition because Dougray Scott had the role, and then he got caught up on 'Mission: Impossible II,' but everyone thought that would get sorted. But the studio said, 'Look, we need a backup plan just in case.'" The actor proceeded to explain that this took the pressure off him during his audition, since he didn't believe there was any chance he'd get the part. He just went with the flow. Jackman added that Kevin Feige — who was an associate producer on the first "X-Men" film — even offered to drive him to the airport and get a bite to eat. The actor told him that he didn't have to go out of his way to be nice, as he knew the chances of him getting the part were extremely slim. Well, the joke was on Jackman, wasn't it?

Hugh Jackman's wife warned him not to do X-Men

Hugh Jackman has always worn his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness. "From nearly the moment we met ... I knew our destiny was to be together," the actor opined in an Instagram post celebrating their 25th anniversary. But the happy couple isn't always in perfect agreement. In fact, Jackman thinks Furness was off the mark with one particular piece of advice she gave him in 1999.

If it was up to his wife, Jackman would have passed on the role of Wolverine in "X-Men" and waited for a meatier part to come along. "My wife was the one who said, 'Don't do it,'" Jackman told Vulture. "She read the three pages I was given, because they wouldn't give me the script. Three pages, I got. And she was like, 'This is ridiculous.'" The actor went on to explain that some of the comic book terminology used, such as the "snikt!" sound Wolverine's claws make when they pop out of his knuckles, left them both confused about what was actually happening. But Jackman took the leap, regardless of his wife's apprehension. Though Furness was clearly off base, we imagine she's probably pretty okay with that fact.

Hugh Jackman was told X-Men was going to bomb

In an interview with Female.com.au, Hugh Jackman admitted he knew nothing about the "X-Men" comic book series before he received the script for the 2000 movie. However, he enjoyed what he read on the page, and could easily tell Logan was a resonant character with enormous potential. But even though Jackman was excited about the gig, especially since it would be his first big role in a Hollywood blockbuster, the people around him tried to temper his expectations and prepare him for the worst.

"I remember several people saying to me, 'Make sure you book another gig before this thing comes out,'" Jackman said. "You know, try and use it, the leverage to get another job. Because the word on the street is, it's probably not going to do great business." Though this advice sounds odd to modern ears, these were the days before the superhero boom changed cinema as we know it. Back then, making a comic book movie was basically a coin flip. Maybe the people adapting the comics in question had vision, passion for the source material, and the talent to pull it off — or maybe they were simply trying to cash in on a recognizable brand. Fortunately, the word on the street was completely inaccurate in this instance. In fact, there's an argument to be made that the box office success of "X-Men" is what led to a renewed interest in superhero movies as a whole.

The heartbreaking X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak

Out of the three "Wolverine" films, the one that gets the most grief is "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." This Gavin Hood-directed film earnestly attempts to bring Wolverine's complex beginning to the screen. But many of its artistic choices, such as the treatment of Deadpool and Gambit's lack of screen time, left fans and critics disappointed. This poor movie might have been doomed from the start, however, no matter what creative decisions it made. An unfinished copy was leaked onto the Internet more than a month before it was officially released in U.S. theaters.

When speaking to the media (via The Guardian), Jackman remarked, "It's a serious crime and there's no doubt it's very disappointing — I was heartbroken by it." The actor added that the pirates who downloaded the movie were watching an incomplete creation, which simply couldn't be judged according to typical metrics. Though this rough version had already been watched by a vast number of people before the film arrived in cinemas, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" still managed to make $373 million off a $150 million budget. In 2011, the mystery of who leaked the movie was solved when a New Yorker named Gilberto Sanchez pleaded guilty to uploading the unfinished film onto the Internet, according to iTNews.

Hugh Jackman loved Deadpool's Wolverine jokes

There are no sacred cows in "Deadpool." The first film in the series takes shots at everything, from its own lack of budget to Wolverine, and even Hugh Jackman himself. The franchise doesn't stop there, either — if anything, "Deadpool 2" amps up the insults. Deadpool is never shy about telling everyone his true feelings for the tri-clawed Weapon X. While it appears to be all in good fun (and certainly in character for Wade Wilson), some people might not take too kindly to being the butt of an often-repeated joke, especially when they don't have the opportunity to retort.

But Hugh Jackman actually loved these quips, as "Deadpool" co-writer Rhett Reese told Yahoo. "The great thing about it is that Hugh was a little bit like a guardian angel for us," he said. "He was very supportive of the movie, he was very supportive of us poking fun at Wolverine." Reese added that they brought a number of questions to the actor directly, since they regarded jokes that use his personal likeness — recall the moment Wade staples the People Magazine cover declaring Jackman the "sexiest man alive" to his face. Fortunately, Jackman found everything they suggested hilarious, and encouraged them to have some fun at his expense.

Anna Paquin said Hugh Jackman suffered playing Wolverine

In the first "X-Men" film, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine spends a bulk of his screen time with Anna Paquin's Rogue. These two characters develop a close bond, strengthened by the fact of their outsider status. As it turns out, their actors became good friends as well, as Paquin revealed to SiriusXM.

Paquin explained that Jackman was a terrific co-star and all-around human being, but she felt incredibly sorry for all he had to go through while making the movie. "He got put through the wringer on that first one and never, ever complained," she said. "It'd be like, minus 40, and he's being dropped off some building onto his back over and over and over again. And still has all the time in the world to be a nice, normal person." Spending so much time together in elaborate costumes also forced Jackman and Paquin to rely on each other in hilarious ways. As Paquin revealed, she once had to help Jackman take a cigar out of his mouth when he had his claws extended. Ah, the costs of fame.

Hugh Jackman holds the record as Wolverine

Every studio would love to sign an actor up to play a superhero forever, especially if they're a fan-favorite casting and the money just keeps rolling in. But the fact is, actors want to portray a wide variety of different characters over the course of their careers. Committing to a singular role for a long stretch of time is a very rare occurrence. Normally, a contract may be for a few years, or a couple of movies, but even then, some actors surely count down the days until they can hang up the spandex for good.

Hugh Jackman is an exception to this rule. In his first stint, he played Wolverine for nearly 17 years, eventually going out on his own terms in "Logan." No one could fault him, after almost two decades at the wheel. It's a remarkable achievement, and a record-breaking one at that. In 2019, both Jackman and Patrick Stewart received Guinness World Records certificates for having the longest careers as live-action Marvel superheroes. Considering both Stewart and Jackman returned to their legendary roles in the ensuing years, the Guinness World Records team will need to update their stats and issue new certificates to the enduring actors.

Jerry Seinfeld convinced Hugh Jackman to retire as Wolverine

When Hugh Jackman retired as Wolverine for the first time, he did so on a high. "Logan" is, without a doubt, not only one of the best "X-Men" films, but one of the best products of the entire superhero genre. One need only glance at the astonishingly good reviews it earned to grasp its quality. It's not surprising, then, that nobody was clamoring for Jackman to go. Even before "Logan" blew fans' minds, Jackman's Wolverine was the most consistently good part of a franchise that fluctuated wildly between brilliance and dreck. But Jackman wanted to go out on top, rather than limp to the finish line.

While appearing on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Jackman explained that he met with Jerry Seinfeld and asked the comedian how he knew when it was time to pull the plug on "Seinfeld." "He said, 'Look, when you're creating something it's very important not to run yourself dry. It's not about finishing on top, necessarily, but making sure that you're, creatively, still got something left, which propels you into whatever's next.'" The actor added that he went home and told his wife that he was hanging up the claws for good after the next movie was done. Obviously, he changed his mind later on.

Hugh Jackman's pick for the next Wolverine

When fans learned that the X-Men would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the rumor mill went into overdrive regarding who would succeed Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Some fans thought Daniel Radcliffe would be a good pick, while others swore only Tom Hardy should be in consideration for the role. There was even a passionate petition for Danny DeVito to play the hero. Everyone has their favorites and is eager to make their case — even Jackman himself.

Before announcing his return for "Deadpool 3," Jackman weighed in with his own choice of who he thinks should get the claws and mutant healing factor next. Speaking to Rajeev Masand (via Inquisitr), Jackman suggested Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan should be a serious contender. Jackman admires the Bollywood performer enormously, and, as it turns out, Khan is a big fan of Wolverine and the Australian actor as well. He praised Jackman effusively at FICCI FRAMES 2011 (via Times of India), and said his fellow actor had outright offered him the opportunity to be part of an "X-Men" film.

Logan's ending wasn't always set in stone

In the world of comic book movies, there's just one certainty: It's only over if the money says it is. Yet James Mangold's "Logan" positions itself as the final chapter in a legacy, from which there is no going back. The movie's marketing didn't hide this fact either — recall the trailer's mournful use of Johnny Cash's "Hurt." Fans rightfully feared the worst for poor old Wolvie. Once the movie was released, it was made abundantly clear that this version of Logan was no more.

At a special screening of "Logan Noir," Mangold and Hugh Jackman revealed more about how they approached the film. The actor explained how their initial discussions didn't cover whether Logan would survive or not. Mangold said they needed something definitive to put an exclamation mark on the end of the franchise and character's tale. "I wanted it to be like, the curtain has come down, we told the story," Mangold said (via The Hollywood Reporter). "Just like a regular movie, we're not leaving something out there. The story is over."

James Mangold is okay with Wolverine's return

James Mangold's "Logan" serves as the perfect send-off for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. The ending leaves no doubts as to the fate of the character: He perishes as a hero. It's raw, emotional, and doesn't leave a single eye dry. Fans flocked to the theater to say their fond farewell to one of the most iconic cinematic interpretations of a classic superhero. Jackman himself stated this was the end of his journey as the Ol' Canucklehead, and that he felt it was time to pass the baton to someone else.

So, imagine the surprise of comic book fans everywhere when Ryan Reynolds revealed Jackman would be returning as Wolverine for "Deadpool 3." This was entirely unexpected good news for every Deadpool and Wolvie fan out there. Once the celebration and chatter settled, many pondered what Mangold thought of this, since the director made "Logan" with every intention of it being the end for Jackman's Wolverine. They didn't have to wait long to find out: Mangold posted a GIF of Logan's demise on Twitter without comment, leading the Internet to draw its own conclusions. But he soon posted another Tweet clarifying there were no hard feelings at all, and that he couldn't wait to see what his friends would get up to in "Deadpool 3."