Hey, guess what? They’re recasting Wolverine!
Psych! Not really. I just wanted to show you how attached you are to Hugh Jackman, by letting you experience a moment of blind rage at the thought of seeing anyone else in his iconic role.
If you didn’t fly into a frenzy just then, it’s possible that you’re heightist, and a stickler for comic book details.
Presuming you haven’t already flipped your desk and smashed your screen in anger, give yourself a second until you stop hearing the blood pounding in your ears, and we’ll continue.
Are you ready? Good.
As much as Jackman now embodies the character of James Howlett (which wasn’t even the character’s name when the X-Men movie universe began), his early days on the job were fairly rocky.
Like, really rocky. Apparently, when he first started on X-Men, Hugh Jackman was so stiff and awkward that he risked getting fired.
Speaking recently about his first faltering steps with Hollywood moviemaking, Jackman revealed just how awful things were for him:
“I was kind of struggling, to be honest. It was the first movie I had ever done in America. I was pretty tight. I was nervous. I was average, to be honest, at best. No one was saying anything and I sort of thought I was getting away with it, but I wasn't.”
Apparently, as much as Jackman was trying to hide his nervousness, everyone on set was picking up on it. This wasn’t what they were wanting from their leading man on the movie!
In a different era, it’s not impossible to imagine Jackman getting fired on the spot. Stranger things have happened in recent years, as the X-Men movie franchise has grown into such an enormous money churner.
Instead, though, we see a rare example of a movie studio executive making the right call, and treating an actor like a genuine human being.
Except, of course, Tom Rothman was still kind of a jerk to Hugh.
“He told me that he believed in me, that from the moment he'd seen my tape he had a gut feeling I was the guy, but watching my dailies was like watching someone put a lampshade over a light.”
This is what passes for good manners in Hollywood, apparently.
But Jackman took their conversation to heart. He had the studio’s faith, so long as he could deliver on what his audition tape promised, and as such, he knuckled down and got to work.
The result is the movie we finally got. X-Men kickstarted the superhero movie era of Hollywood, in large part thanks to Jackman’s performance.
All’s well that ends well, but it’s funny to think how close we got to seeing history take a very different path.
There’s no guarantee that Jackman would have gotten over his stage-fright if he hadn’t had this heart-to-heart with Tom Rothman.
Similarly, there’s no way of knowing whether superhero movies would have gained traction in quite the same way if Jackman had been replaced by someone else—especially considering that, for some reason, Bryan Singer’s first choice was Russell Crowe of all people.
Can you imagine the X-Men universe making it all the way to Logan with Russell Crowe as their poster boy?
It’s a good thing Hugh Jackman managed to pull it out of the bag in the end.