Watch Hugh Jackman's 1999 'X-Men' Audition
No one has played a superhero for longer or in more movies than Hugh Jackman — and few casting stories have become more legendary than the roundabout way he landed the role of Wolverine, which he is playing one last time in Logan.
The audition tape below was shot during a worldwide casting search for X-Men. Jackman was performing onstage as Curly McLain in Oklahoma! in London, and squeezed in the audition with director Bryan Singer in between performances.
Heat Vision breakdown
There are some dark lines in this version that didn't make it into the film ("I can't even show you the scars from all the times I've tried to kill myself, because they just disappear.") and you can hear hints of an accent slipping into the dialogue — but Jackman is undeniably a movie star in the making. But he didn't get the part, with it instead going to Dougray Scott.
But fate had other plans.
Scott was injured on the Australian set of Mission: Impossible 2, and X-Men producer Lauren Schuler Donner, remembering Jackman's tape, suggested they bring him back to read. By this point, the film had already gone into production in Toronto and still was missing its leading man.
"We flew him out and while we were shooting the Senate scene with Jean Grey in the Toronto City Hall, we set up the audition area in the back, where Hugh did the truck scene with Rogue," screenwriter David Hayter tells Heat Vision.
It was just Hayter, producer Ralph Winter and Singer watching what would become history.
"There was just one moment where Hugh looked toward Rogue, right in the camera, and he just looked like a young Clint Eastwood and that eyebrow went up. I remember that moment — and all three of us looked and said, 'That's pretty good,'" says Hayter. "So he finishes the audition and Bryan was standing right next to him. Bryan walks up to him and says, 'So you want the job?' and Hugh goes, 'Yeah mate' and shakes his hands and changed all of our lives."
Video of that exchange was revealed during San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, but unfortunately it hasn't made its way online.
Hayter has a lot more behind-the-scenes stories from his X-Men days (including everyone from Michael Jackson to Shaq lobbying for roles). Read all those details here.
by Keith Caulfield, Billboard
by Anna Chan, Billboard
by Scott Roxborough