X-Men turns 20: Not Hugh Jackman, this Scottish actor was the first choice for Wolverine
The X-Men franchise is one of the iconic ventures which started in the world of filmmaking, which paved a way for many other superhero franchises like Dark Knight Trilogy which was helmed by Christopher Nolan and also the Marvel Universe. The X-Men film franchise completed 20 glorious years in the world of cinema.
The first instalment of the X-Men series which was released 20 years ago consisted of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellen as Magneto, James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Halle Berry as Storm, and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
After making a mark on the world cinema through their 20 years of presence, here’s an amazing story which reveals Jackman was a last-minute addition to this iconic franchise.
Scottish actor Dougray Scott was the first choice for the X-Men series but he was forced to drop out of the franchise which led the way for Hugh Jackman to step in. Scott was already filming for Mission Impossible-II and he was supposed to jump on to the sets of X-Men as soon as he finishes his shoot for MI:2. Due to the production delays, the shooting schedule of MI:2 got delayed and 20th Century Fox which was looking forward to their much anticipated X-Men, couldn’t wait much longer and instead selected the lesser-known actor than Jackman.
“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 also tried to adjust the shoot for the Scottish actor 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 conversation to the Daily Telegraph, Scott mentioned, “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.”
Jackman revealed that he was about to get fired after five weeks into the filming as he didn’t live up to the expectations of the people at the studio. “Five weeks into shooting X-Men, I was on the verge of getting fired…” Jackman opened up about it during one of his Hugh Jackman. The Man. The Music. The Show appearances in London. “The head of the studio pulled me aside at lunch and he told me that they were worried at the studio, that they weren’t seeing on camera what they’d seen in the audition.”
He continued, “And the very next day the director pulled me aside and told me exactly the same thing…So clearly they’d been talking and I was freaking out. I’m thinking, oh, this is the talk you get before you get fired. And this was the biggest break of my career by a mile up to this point.”
The X-Men series came out with 12 instalments in the span of 20 years, with the final film, a spin-off titled New Mutants, slated for release later this year.