In the seventeen years since taking on the role, Hugh Jackman has captivated audiences in his portrayal of Logan Howlett, A.K.A. Wolverine. But for a period of time, another Australian A-Lister almost took the role. And now, he's finally revealed why he didn't.
While cohosting the Australian radio show Fitzy & Wippa, Russell Crowe explained why he turned down the role of Wolverine in 2000's X-Men. As it turns out, it had to do with a role Crowe had already taken around that time - Ridley Scott's Gladiator.
Crowe's character in the film, Maximus, was associated with wolf imagery - something that the actor believed would feel redundant if he took on the role of Wolverine.
"Bryan [Singer] was a friend at the time," Crowe explained. "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’."
In the end, that parallel didn't end up having as big of a significance, as most of the wolf-related moments in Gladiator did not make the final cut.
"When Ridley was cutting the movie, it was inconvenient to keep the dog alive — so the whole wolf thing, no one ever mentions it!"
But ultimately, Crowe helped point Singer in the direction of casting Jackman in X-Men. And according to Jackman, that recommendation helped impact his career significantly.
"I owe him because two of the biggest roles I’ve ever had in my life, he turned down — and suggested me for them." Jackman explained in 2012. "On X-Men, he was Bryan Singer’s first choice for Wolverine, and he mentioned me also for [Baz Luhrmann’s] Australia. He really is incredibly smart, and generous."
Logan is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank and Michael Green, from a story by Mangold, and also stars Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen.