Hugh Jackman has opened up about the awkward moment he came face-to-face with the actor who was originally cast as Wolverine.
Jackman recalled how he was appearing in a stage version of Oklahoma! in London in 1999 when he landed an audition for Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie, partly due to Russell Crowe.
“Bryan wanted Russell to play Wolverine,” Jackman said. “He (Crowe) said to him, ‘You should look at this guy, Hugh Jackman.’
“My audition was literally between the Wednesday matinee and the Wednesday evening (performance) and I raced off stage and I ran into Soho to do this audition,” he told Cooney.
“They were, as they do, running late. I’m a nobody and I’m like, ‘Um, I’ve got to be on stage’.”
Worried he was going to miss the evening performance, Jackman decided to barge into the audition room.
“I remember knocking on the door and I say, ‘Sorry to interrupt, excuse me.’ And they’re looking at me like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’
“I said, ‘I really need to do my audition now or I’m out.’ And I can see them going, ‘Yeah, leave.’ But the guy who was just finishing goes, ‘All right, come in here.’
“I remember being a little shitty because I’d waited for an hour and a half and I hate being late so I was pissed off,” Jackman said.
His bad mood turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Jackman channelled his anger for the audition.
“We did a take or two and then they said, ‘Can we do that one again?’ And I said, ‘No, can we just do the other scene? I just need to make sure I do the other scene.’
“I remember them going, ‘Who is this guy?’” he recalled.
Jackman had to audition another six times for the role only to be told they’d decided to cast Scottish actor Dougray Scott instead.
As luck would have it though, Scott had to withdraw from the X-Men movie because the filming for Mission: Impossible 2, which he was starring in, ran over schedule.
“I send Tom Cruise a present every year,” Jackman joked on the Aussies in Hollywood podcast.
Before filming began, Jackman awkwardly ran into Scott at the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney.
“He came up afterwards and I said, ‘Mate, I’m really sorry.’ And he said, ‘Mate, it’s nothing to do with you. That is an awesome role, go and crush it. You’re going to be great.’
“I always thought he was a class act,” Jackman added.
FYI — Last year Scott was asked on a red carpet about missing out on playing Wolverine and said, “It’s a part that I was offered and turned down three times and didn’t want to do”.
“Then they persuaded me to do it and I was … about to do it and then the movie I was doing at the time just overran by so much that I couldn’t do it in the end. So that was the story with Wolverine.
“I never think about it to be honest with you,” he added.
The final fun fact Jackman revealed about playing Wolverine was that his wife, Debora-lee Furness, didn’t think he should take the role.
“We’d never heard of it,” Furness said about the character. “Both of us had no clue.
“I’m thankful that I was wrong because my children get to go to college and have their tuition paid for,” she laughed.
Jackman went on to play Wolverine in nine different movies (including cameos) and officially bid farewell to the character with last year’s hit film, Logan.