Not Hugh Jackman, but this actor was originally cast as Wolverine till Tom Cruise forced him to bow out
Before Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine, another actor had already been roped in for the role, but unforeseen circumstances (and Tom Cruise) forced him to drop out.Updated: Apr 20, 2020, 17:17 IST
Hugh Jackman will forever be synonymous with Wolverine, a character he played for 17 years on screen in the X-Men film franchise, but it almost never came to be. Jackman was a last-minute replacement after Scottish actor Dougray Scott was forced to drop out, after having already been cast.
Scott was filming Mission: Impossible II and was supposed to jump onto X-Men immediately after finishing the film, but due to production delays, M:I 2 got pushed, and 20th Century Fox, which was depending heavily on the success of X-Men, could no longer wait for him and cast the relatively unknown Jackman as his replacement.
“The shoot has gone longer than expected, and Scott lost a few days with a shoulder injury,” a Variety report from 2000 said. Director Bryan Singer had even pushed Wolverine’s scenes till a later date to accommodate Scott’s schedule, but it didn’t work. The report continued, “Even though X-Men had begun production late last month, Fox was holding out hope until the last minute that Paramount would be able to give a stop date for Scott on M:I:2 so he could join the cast in Toronto this week. In the whirlwind casting change, Jackman’s deal was finalized late last week so he could be fitted for his claws over the weekend. He will begin rehearsals and action choreography today.”
In a recent interview to the Daily Telegraph, Scott put the blame squarely on Tom Cruise. “Tom Cruise didn’t let me do it,” he said. “We were doing Mission: Impossible and he was like, ‘You’ve got to stay and finish the film’ and I said I will, but I’ll go and do that as well. For whatever reason he said I couldn’t. He was a very powerful guy. Other people were doing everything to make it work.”
In an interview to The Daily Beast, Jackman said he’d auditioned for the part, but was offered it a full nine months later. “I actually got the part nine months after I’d first auditioned for it. I only went back and auditioned again after Dougray got caught up on Mission: Impossible II, so I had no idea who was going for it nor did I expect to get it,” he said.
Scott holds nothing against Jackman. “I love what Hugh did with it,” he said. “He’s a lovely guy.” The X-Men franchise, under Fox, is believed to have ended with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, with the release of New Mutants unclear. The characters’ rights now belong to Disney, and the studio is planning to introduce them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jackman in a recent interview had said that he has made his peace with the fact that another actor will play Wolverine soon.
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