Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine in nine different movies, including official X-Men series films, solo spinoffs, and the upcoming final Wolverine movie Logan. Seldom in movie history has one actor returned to the screen this many times to play the same guy over and over in so many different vehicles.
Jackman and Wolverine are tied together so tightly it almost seems impossible anyone else could or would ever play the character. But believe it or not, there was actually a time when it seemed Jackman and the character wouldn’t necessarily mesh the way they ultimately did.
E! Online reports Jackman’s revelation at the Producers Guild Awards (via CBR) that in the first days of filming the original X-Men movie, he had a difficult time getting into the character of Wolverine. But luckily, producer Tom Rothman was there to encourage Jackman and keep him focused on finding the character. Jackman said:
“I was kind of struggling, to be honest. It was the first movie I had ever done in America. I was pretty tight. I was nervous. I was average, to be honest, at best. No one was saying anything and I sort of thought I was getting away with it, but I wasn’t.
He told me that he believed in me, that from the moment he’d seen my tape he had a gut feeling I was the guy, but watching my dailies was like watching someone put a lampshade over a light.”
Rothman’s words obviously hit their mark because Jackman would go on to not only find Wolverine but turn his performance into an iconic portrayal. Nine movies later, Jackman is still finding new dimensions in Wolverine/Logan, and he reportedly will explore darker, more realistic sides of the character in Logan which hits theaters on March 3, 2017.
Given how comfortable Jackman has gotten with Wolverine, it’s hard to imagine him struggling to find his way inside that particular character. Wolverine does present certain challenges, being a less-than-pleasant person a lot of the time, but clearly Jackman discovered the secret to bringing Wolverine’s prickly personality to life. Even despite some not-so-great spinoffs, Jackman’s Wolverine has remained a compelling creation for over fifteen years.
Given Jackman’s commitment to Wolverine, and his obvious joy in playing the character, it seems only fitting that he is being given the chance to send the superhero off in a movie that really gives him a chance to stretch and go deeper inside the character than ever. Jackman must feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction all these years later, especially after his initial problems figuring out how to play his most iconic role.