Hugh Jackman Explains Why He Turned Down A Chance To Play James Bond, And Thank Goodness That He Did
In a lengthy new interview with Variety to promote his upcoming film The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman revealed the reason why he once turned down a chance to play James Bond. The reason why? It rhymes with Polverine.
Numerous parts of Jackman’s life and career are covered in the interview, including how he somehow got the musical based on P.T. Barnum made despite much skepticism from the studios.
Even Jackman sounds surprised that the Barnum musical got made, confessing that he put the odds at less than 50-50 that cameras would ever roll. Yet there was something about the story of this self-made man, who climbed the social ladder by displaying bearded ladies, tattooed men, sword-swallowers and other curiosities in his traveling circus, that he couldn’t shake. He had a kind of chutzpah that was infectious.
“He created this world that no one had even thought possible,” says Jackman. “He really, for me, epitomized the idea that your imagination is your limit in a time where things were very rigid and when the social position you were born into was the one you were stuck in.”
Jackman says that despite playing Wolverine in nine films over nearly two decades, he had a hard time finding the heart of the cigar-chomping bad boy.
“I wish I’d started playing him like that 17 years ago,” he says. “So there’s some sense of missed opportunity, but when I saw ‘Logan,’ I sat there and I did have tears in my eyes. The main feeling I had was: “There, that’s the character. I feel like I’ve done it now.” And I was calm and at peace, but I’m going to miss that guy.”
Oh yeah, Jackman also had a shot once at playing iconic superspy James Bond. But he turned it down. No big deal.
“I was about to do ‘X-Men 2’ and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” recalls Jackman as he dives into a plate of salmon. “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.’ I was also worried that between Bond and ‘X-Men,’ I’d never have time to do different things.”
Unfortunately, thanks in part to Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, Jackman no longer has to worry about playing Logan anymore.
As for his legendary workouts and tremendous physique, Jackman explains how that came to be…
“People always say to me, ‘Why are you in such good shape?’ and I always answer, ‘If I told you that you were going to be on film on a 40-foot screen with your shirt off, you’d be in good shape too.’”
I suppose he has a point there. That would be some pretty solid motivation.
The Greatest Showman hits theaters on December 20th.