Hugh Jackman catapulted to superstardom for his portrayal as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, and he had the chance to play another iconic character.
“I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” said Jackman in an interview with Variety. “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.’"
The the extravagant scale of the Bond films of the era was one reason for turning it down, but Jackman would be jumping from one action franchise to another.
"I was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, I’d never have time to do different things," Jackman said.
Jackman's refusal was part of a series of events that could be the best thing to happen to the franchise in the past few decades, as it lead to MGM Studios deciding to reboot the franchise with Casino Royale.
With Daniel Craig currently playing the role, it's interesting that the modern movies adopt the same approach that Jackman felt was necessary to make the series resonate once again. The actor has starred in four films as the character, and is set to reprise the role (possibly for the last time) in the 25th James Bond movie due out in 2019. The film does not yet have a director.
Jackman's career hasn't stalled despite passing on the once-in-a-lifetime gig. He's appeared in notable films like Les Misérables, The Fountain, and The Prestige, as well as reprising his role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise.
Jackman played the mutant for the final time in Logan, released this past March, and can next be seen getting back to his musical roots in The Greatest Show as P.T. Barnum, premiering in theaters on December 20.