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Hugh Jackman Was Convinced To Leave Wolverine Role By Jerry Seinfeld

Hugh Jackman tore up the big screen one last time as Wolverine in this year's Logan, and much was made about the the Australian actor finally leaving the role he quietly made iconic over the course of his 17 years as the character. 

What could have driven him away from the role? The years, for sure, but was it a close counseling from co-star Patrick Stewart? Fatigue from flying too often between Australia and LA? No—evidently, it was that meddling Jerry Seinfeld steering the ship the whole time.

Jackman revealed his surprising inspiration for the career shift during an appearance on Variety's Actors on Actors series, in which he appeared alongside Willem Dafoe.

"Honestly, what happened was is I had a dinner with Jerry Seinfeld, who's a friend of mine," Jackman said, being interviewed by Dafoe. "I was asking him about the end of the series [Seinfeld]. I said 'how did you decide?'"

According to Jackman, the comedian's advice was to get out while you still had plenty of ideas to burn.  

"He said, 'I've always believed, you should never spend everything creatively because it's almost herculean to start up again. You should always have something in the tank.' Leave the party before it gets too late kind of theory."

Jackman made the decision on his way home from the dinner to make Logan, which he was then currently developing with writer-director James Mangold, into his final performance in the role. Inspired by a new sense of finality, he woke up the next morning with the seed that would set the tone for his final turn as Wolverine.

"I woke up the next morning with this very strong idea," Jackman recalled. "of treating it not like a comic book movie in any way, of treating it not like a superhero, but as a human being who's lived a life of violence, and let's make a movie about the ramifications of violence. I was thinking The Wrestler, I was thinking Unforgiven."

Considering the number of comparisons Logan ultimately received from critics with those two movies, it's safe to say the decision was a successful one. The effect of seeing 17 years of work culminate in the premiere of Logan, Jackman said, left him crying in the theater by the final shot.

Us too, Hugh. For more, you can check out the full half hour Actors on Actors episode with Hugh Jackman and Willem Dafoe here.