By now, it’s pretty hard to imagine Wolverine being played by anyone else other than Hugh Jackman. The actor concluded an decade-and-a-half, iconic run as the mighty mutant earlier this year in Logan, and it now seems that both Marvel and 20th Century Fox are in no rush to recast. However, at one point, another Australian actor — Russell Crowe — was up for the role, until he turned it down for a rather strange reason.
“Bryan [Singer, X-Men director] was a friend at the time and he was really putting the pressure on,” Crowe recently explained in an interview on Australian TV.
The actor had just finished up filming Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, and didn’t want to be typecast as, yes, a fan of wolves.
“If you remember, Maximus has a wolf at the centre of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion … which I thought was going to be a bigger deal [at the time]…So I said no, because I didn’t want to be ‘wolfy’, like ‘Mr Wolf’.”
As it turned out, pretty much all the “wolfy” scenes were cut from the final version of Gladiator, so Crowe’s worries were for nothing. He, apparently, isn’t beating himself up too much about the missed opportunity — it was him that suggested Hugh Jackman to Singer and company, after all.
“I owe him because two of the biggest roles I’ve ever had in my life, he turned down — and suggested me for them,” Jackman said in an earlier interview with EW, referring to Wolverine and the lead role in Baz Luhrman’s Australia.