Cast your mind back to 2004, when Wolverine was at his peak and Hugh Jackman was arguably one of the biggest stars on the planet, and you may recall the moment when he turned down the chance to play James Bond.
The Aussie actor was just in the process of gearing up for Bryan Singer’s X-Men 2, while MGM and Eon were casting the net far and wide in search of a new 00 agent to replace Pierce Brosnan, whose four-film run petered out with Die Another Day. At the time, Jackman believed the franchise’s creators needed to produce something “grittier and real” to bring the James Bond brand back into focus, which is, in hindsight, rather prescient considering MGM dreamed up Casino Royale two years later.
Daniel Craig ultimately landed the coveted gig, but it turns out Hugh Jackman still stands by his decision:
I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real. And the response was: ‘Oh, you don’t get a say. You just have to sign on.’ I was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, I’d never have time to do different things.
Because the James Bond films were becoming increasingly ridiculous and far-fetched at the time, Hugh Jackman politely declined the offer and instead doubled down on Wolverine, a role he famously owned for almost 20 years. And it’s that saga that came to a close with the really rather excellent Logan earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, the folks over at MGM are quietly preparing for the untitled Bond 25. All we know for sure is that the mysterious follow-up will herald Daniel Craig’s final turn wielding the license to kill when it hits theaters in 2019 – November 8th, 2019, to be exact.
Logan, on the other hand, is one step closer to landing an Oscar nomination after the Academy revealed its preliminary shortlist for this year’s Best VFX award. Expect all of the nominees to be unveiled on January 23rd.