Of the nearly 60 roles Hugh Jackman has played over the past quarter-century, the character he's most famous for is the X-Men's Wolverine. In fact, earlier this year, the Oscar-nominated actor even cinched a Guinness World Record for Longest Serving Marvel Hero—an honor he shares with X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart. (Both men have spent more than 16 years of their careers as part of the superhero team.) But according to Jackman, that amazing legacy almost never came to be. The famed actor recently revealed that he came very close to being fired from 2000's X-Men.
According to We Got This Covered, Jackman—who was in London earlier this week for a stop on his concert tour The Man. The Music. The Show.—spoke about some of the low points in his career. He said that he was almost let go from the Marvel role, and that it was his wife who encouraged him to stop worrying so much and just follow his gut:
"I was told that things weren’t really working out as they hoped. I was about to get fired from my first Hollywood movie—the biggest of my career. I was angry, I went home to my wife and I complained. I was whining an Olympic level of whining to Deb, my wife, and moaning about this person and that person. She listened to me very patiently for about an hour and finally she just said, 'Listen, I think you have just got to trust yourself. You are worrying way too much about what everyone else is thinking. Just go back to the character, focus on that, trust your instinct ... you’ve got this.' To me that was love. Someone that believes in you when you don’t fully believe in yourself."
Amazingly, X-Men was only Jackman's third role in a feature film, and his first Hollywood movie. And, as We Got This Covered points out, the actor was not the studio’s first choice to play Wolverine. Fox had originally wanted Scottish actor Dougray Scott for the role, but Scott had too many scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible II. This was good news for Jackman, but it clearly still wasn’t easy at the beginning.
The next X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, opens in theaters on June 7, but don’t expect to see Wolverine in it: Jackman retired his role with 2017’s Logan.