Hugh Jackman as James Bond? It could have happened. The 49-year-old actor reveals that he turned down the chance to play the iconic MI6 spy early on in his career. He would have been balancing the X-Men franchise and the James Bond franchise at the same time, which would be incredibly difficult for any actor, which is part of the reason he turned down the role.
The beloved actor who brought Wolverine to life on the big screen for nearly two decades is currently promoting his latest movie, The Greatest Showman. During a recent interview, Hugh Jackman reveals that he was called about being the next 007, back when the producers were looking to replace Pierce Brosnan. Here’s what Jackman had to say about it.
“I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. 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.”
James Bond is one of the most iconic and enduring characters in the history of cinema. So turning down the role is massive. Especially when considering, at the time, Hugh Jackman had one big movie under his belt and couldn’t have known that X-Men was going to become what it ultimately became. But coming off of Die Another Day, the end of the Brosnan era Bond movies, it’s easy to see his trepidation. In the interview, Jackman talked about how he started to get a little “claustrophobic” about getting typecast.
“I always tried to do different things. But there was a time between ‘X-Men 3’ and the first Wolverine movie when I could see the roles getting smaller. People wanted me to play that kind of hero part exclusively. It felt a little bit claustrophobic.”
Daniel Craig wound up getting the role and, all things considered, that worked out very well. He’s about to hang up his Walther in James Bond 25 and Hugh Jackman officially retired the role of Wolverine in Logan this year. It’s impossible to say how things would have gone, had Jackman taken up the mantle of James Bond.
Surely, Hugh Jackman is an excellent actor and could have been a great Bond, in his own way, but at what cost? There’s no way we would have been treated to as many Wolverine movies. And movies like The Prestige and Prisoners may not have happened at all. So, it’s probably for the best that he turned down James Bond. But still, this reveal Jackman made to Variety is pretty interesting, nonetheless.