Nowadays, it’s difficult to imagine anyone but Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Over the course of 17 years, the actor made the role his own, giving a legendary performance across numerous films in the X-Men franchise, which all culminated in James Mangold’s Logan earlier this year.
With the Aussie now hanging up those adamantium claws for good, the question on everyone’s minds is who’s going to portray Wolvie next? That’s something which won’t be answered for a long, long time, as Fox is nowhere near ready to recast, and that’s absolutely fine by us. But it’s interesting to note that Jackman wasn’t always the one set to play Weapon X, as another Aussie actor was considered before Hugh’s name came up.
That’d be Russell Crowe, who was eyed for Wolverine back when Bryan Singer’s X-Men was taking shape back in 2000. He didn’t accept the part, of course, and in a recent interview, the Les Miserables star opened up about why exactly he passed. Apparently, it had to do with wolves.
“Bryan [Singer] was a friend at the time and he was really putting the pressure on. If you remember, 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’.”
Of course, Crowe is referring to his character in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, which released the same year as X-Men. Aside from being kind of a silly reason for passing on the role, it also turns out that most of the wolf scenes from Scott’s film were cut anyways, so it wouldn’t have been an issue. Then again, it’s not like he made a poor choice, as Gladiator was (arguably) the movie that made Crowe into an A-list star in Hollywood, and he’s done extremely well for himself in the years since. Still, you’ve gotta wonder if he regrets turning down the part.
Alas, we’ll never know, and at the end of the day, the studio got the right man for the job, as no one could have done what Jackman did with the role. Not even a talented individual like Crowe. Simply put, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, and for X-Men fans around the world, he always will be.