Hugh Jackman is synonymous with Wolverine, even after retiring from the role, which he first played in the year 2000. But did you know that Jackman was cast at the very last moment, after filming had begun on the first X-Men movie, and the actor originally cast in the role — Dougray Scott — had to drop out?
On Jackman’s 52nd birthday, here’s the story of how he got the role, and the indirect involvement of Tom Cruise in influencing his casting.
Dougray Scott was filming Mission: Impossible II and was supposed to jump onto X-Men immediately after finishing the film, but due to production delays, M:I 2 got pushed, and 20th Century Fox, which was depending heavily on the success of X-Men, could no longer wait for him and cast the relatively unknown Jackman as his replacement.
“The shoot has gone longer than expected, and Scott lost a few days with a shoulder injury,” a Variety report from 2000 said. Director Bryan Singer even pushed Scott’s scenes to buy more time, but that didn’t work out. 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 on M:I:2 so he could join the cast in Toronto this week. In the whirlwind casting change, Jackman’s deal was finalized late last week so he could be fitted for his claws over the weekend. He will begin rehearsals and action choreography today.”
In an 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 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.”
In an interview to The Daily Beast, Jackman said he’d auditioned for the part, but was offered it a full nine months later. “I actually got the part nine months after I’d first auditioned for it. I only went back and auditioned again after Dougray got caught up on Mission: Impossible II, so I had no idea who was going for it nor did I expect to get it,” he said. Scott holds nothing against Jackman. “I love what Hugh did with it,” he said. “He’s a lovely guy.”
Jackman concluded his run as Wolverine with 2017’s Logan, which made over $600 million worldwide and received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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