Hugh Jackman Talks About His Farewell To Wolverine, X-Men And Musicals

Credit: Danielle Levitt for Variety

Hugh Jackman is best known for his role as Wolverine, a role that he and we all bid goodbye to in Logan. It was an emotional goodbye for many, especially so for Jackman, as he recently told Variety. Though he also admits that it was hard to find the heart of Wolverine, who, particularly in the beginning, seemed quite cold-hearted.

“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.”

Despite the fact that Hugh Jackman got the role because the actor they originally cast dropped out at the last minute, we couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the mutant we all fell in love with rather quickly. The audience, however, wasn’t the only one charmed by the Australian actor, so were his colleagues, as Patrick Stewart recalls upon meeting Jackman for the first time.

“We’d been shooting for a week or maybe more, and we were running out of stuff to shoot without someone to play Logan. One morning this slender, pleasant-looking guy with a strong Australian accent is introduced to us all,” recounts Stewart. “He spent 15 to 20 minutes chatting, and by the time he was called to do his reading, we’d fallen in love. He charmed everybody.”

Although Jackman recalls the moment differently and even thought he had blown the audition, telling Stewart, “You’re never going to see me again” after their meeting.

Despite that Jackman landed the role and became a star overnight. He was so popular that he even was offered the role of the most famous MI6 agent of all time: James Bond.

“I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” he remembers. “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.”

After rejecting the role of 007, Jackman had the time to play roles that are immensely different from Logan, even though it didn’t always feel like there would be a time in which he got offered these roles: “I always tried to do different things,” he says. “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.”

Nevertheless, the roles came flying in and so did an Oscar nomination for his role as Jean Valjean in Les Miserable.

With The Greatest Showman, Jackman is going back to the musical genre and from the trailers we’ve got to see so far, it looks like it will be a delight to see him and the rest of the cast dance across theater screens over Christmas.

The movie is based on the real-life story of P.T. Barnum, played by Jackman, who put together a show with the most extraordinary people he could find after his two daughters sparked the idea for it.

“He created this world that no one had even thought possible,” Jackman says about his character. “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.”

“We like to say that we made the movie that Barnum would have liked to make,” Jackman adds and from what the trailers have looked like so far, it seems like they did.

Musicals are really a passion for the actor and without having another Wolverine gig coming up, the actor reveals that he longs to return to Broadway and that he is also developing an original musical at the moment.

“A bad musical stinks to high heaven, but when a musical works, there’s nothing like it,” he says. “People are screaming and cheering. Nothing I’ve found has matched it. By the end, as you take the curtain call, there’s no sense you’re in front of strangers. It’s an intimacy you get that’s more intense than you have with people you’ve known for many years. It’s everyone coming together and opening their heart.”

Much like P.T. Barnum did, Jackman admits that he truly comes alive in front of an audience: “To this day when I’m doing stage work, I go down to the wings even if I’m not on first to hear the crowd shuffle in,” he says. “It’s the height of excitement as the orchestra starts to play.”

No matter what Jackman will do next, I am sure he’ll be brilliant in it. Though up next for us will be The Greatest Showman which will hit theaters on December 20 in the US and on December 26 in the UK.

Anna Hattingen