Kevin Feige’s first major job in Hollywood saw him act as an associate producer on Bryan Singer’s X-Men, having been recommended to Richard Donner by his wife Lauren Shuler Donner, for whom the future architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had been a personal assistant.
One of the young Feige’s tasks was to head to the airport and pick up unknown Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who had been cast as Wolverine two weeks into shooting after scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible II forced Dougray Scott to drop out of the part.
Fast forward 20 years and Feige is arguably the single most influential and powerful producer in the industry, while Jackman spent seventeen years turning his interpretation of Logan into one of the superhero genre’s most popular and iconic figures.
In new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via ScreenRant, Feige reveals what he learned from the hiring and subsequent backlash that first greeted the news of Jackman’s Wolverine.
“Who cares that he’s so tall? He embodies the spirit of Wolverine, and that was a big lesson that I always took from that. It doesn’t have to match the comic frame exactly. It has to match the spirit of it.”
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The MCU has adopted a similar model ever since by hiring relative unknowns or unproven talents to headline mega budget comic book adaptations, turning them into global stars in the process, and it’s a massively successful approach that can be traced right back to his first meeting with Jackman on X-Men.