Russell Crowe Says There’s No Way He Could’ve Topped Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine

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Russell Crowe has brought his rugged good looks and steely disposition to dozens of tough guy characters since he broke onto the scene in the 1990s. His rise to stardom happened to coincide with 20th Century Fox gearing up for their first X-Men film, too, so naturally, fans pegged the Australian actor as a perfect candidate to bring Wolverine to the big screen. Of course, that was before Hugh Jackman landed the role, creating a career-defining characterization over two decades worth of superhero movies.

But now we finally have an answer to one of the genre’s biggest ‘what if’ questions, as Crowe himself admits he would’ve been a terrible Wolverine, especially in light of Jackman’s performance.

In a new interview on The Howard Stern Show, the Gladiator actor took time to reflect on passing up Brian Singer’s X-Men film. While the pic practically kicked off the modern superhero blockbuster genre, Crowe explained that he just wasn’t suited for the part like Jackman was.

“There’s no way I would have ever done that. Even if I’d done the film, I wouldn’t have carried it through with the grace and the direction that Hugh gave it.”

Just two years ago, Crowe went on the record to say he turned down a chance to play Weapon X because of Gladiator, but not for the reason you’d expect, explaining:

“Bryan [Singer] was a friend at the time, and he was really putting the pressure on. If you remember, [in Gladiator,] Maximus has a wolf at the center of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion … which I thought was going to be a bigger deal [at the time]. So I said no because I didn’t want to be ‘wolfy’, like ‘Mr. Wolf’ …When Ridley [Scott] was cutting the movie, it was inconvenient to keep the dog alive — so the whole wolf thing, no one ever mentions it!”

So, there you have it. Crowe turned down one of the biggest film franchises in modern history because he didn’t want to get typecast as a wolf-obsessed character actor.

The rest, as they say, is history. Hugh Jackman went on to play Wolverine for almost two whole decades, retiring the character after 2017’s Oscar-nominated Logan. It sounds like the actor jumped ship right on time, too, as the last few X-films haven’t exactly dominated the box office, with this year’s Dark Phoenix already being pulled out of theaters in the wake of its abysmal opening weekend.

Of course, now that Marvel Studios is looking to reboot the franchise, maybe Crowe could get a second shot at the role? What do you think, though? Would you still like to see Russell Crowe don Wolverine’s claws? Let us know in the comments below!

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