Watch: Hugh Jackman Studied Wolves to Prepare for X-Men Role Because He Didn't Know Wolverines Were Real

X-Men movie star Hugh Jackman was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, where he revealed that he was pretty confused when he was first was cast as Wolverine.

In addition to sharing his thoughts on the passing of Marvel legend Stan Lee, Jackman also told Colbert about how he prepared to play Wolverine for the first time in 2000’s X-Men.

“Embarrassingly, I didn’t know what a Wolverine was,” Jackman said. “I had never heard of such an animal, and I presumed it was a made up name for the comic book. I had never read an X-Men comic. I had never seen a wolverine. We don’t have them in our zoos...I presumed it was a wolf and I did study wolves. I watched some documentaries. There was a big IMAX movie at the time. I went twice to go and see it.

“I put in the hours and I turned up on set for a fight rehearsal and I was incorporating, wolves always have their nose to the ground and they always kind of look into your eyes because they’re smelling you. And the director goes, ‘Hey, what are you doing there with the body?’ And I said, ‘I was thinking, I was doing some work on the wolves, and he goes, “Wolves?! Why wolves? You’re playing the Wolverine.’ And I go, ‘Well, that’s not an animal.’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, it is. Go to the zoo.” It was a humiliating moment and three weeks of wasted research.”

Jackman told the same story to print media in 2017, while he was promoting his final performance as Wolverine in Logan.

“I didn’t even know there was a wolverine,” Jackman told the Associated Press. “I literally, embarrassingly did about two weeks of research on wolves. I was rehearsing for three weeks and I was shooting, so I was kind of on my own. I remember going past an IMAX in Toronto, and there was an IMAX documentary about wolves, and so I thought, ‘I’ll go and see that

“[Director Bryan Singer] said, ‘Are you sort of walking funny, what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I’ve been doing this thing with wolves,’ and he goes, ‘You know you’re not a wolf, right?’ “I said, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as a wolverine.” Singer replied, “‘Go to the zoo, dude.’ I literally didn’t know it existed.”’


Jackman’s confusion over the difference between a wolf and a wolverine was revisited in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That film includes a mythological story explaining why wolverines howl at the moon. Except that wolverines don’t howl at the moon. Wolves do.

What do you think of Jackman’s story? Let us know in the comments!