It's well known Dougray Scott was originally cast as Wolverine in X-Men before being replaced by Hugh Jackman - here's how Mission: Impossible II cost him the role. The original Mission: Impossible was based off the iconic TV 1960s series of the same name, and was set up as a possible franchise for Tom Cruise. The first movie was directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie) who brought his stylish flair to the project.
The original Mission: Impossible proved to be a major hit, though the complexity of the plot was cited as an issue with some audiences. The mantra for the series stated each entry would be directed by a new director, who would put their own stamp on it and make every sequel feel unique. After a failed attempt to get Oliver Stone to direct Mission: Impossible II, action legend John Woo (Face/Off) was chosen.
Woo was known for his intense action sequences and Mission: Impossible II would prove to be the movie that turned Tom Cruise into a fully fledged action star. The villain of the sequel is a rogue IMF agent called Sean Ambrose, played by Dougray Scott. Ambrose is intentionally set up as the dark mirror to Cruise's Ethan Hunt, to the point he was literally used by IMF as a double when Hunt was unable. Scott was also cast as Wolverine in X-Men around this period and was set to jump from M: I 2 to X-Men.
The Mission: Impossible franchise has since become somewhat infamous for their messy productions, often starting filming without completed screenplays. Mission: Impossible II was no different, with the key creatives disagreeing over story beats and crew members dropping out during filming. Scott was supposed to wrap on the sequel in October 1999 to shoot X-Men, but the constant delays and uncertainty over the script made that look increasingly unlikely as the date approached.
When it became clear Scott wouldn't be available, the studio frantically worked to recast the part. Hugh Jackman, who was a relative unknown during this time, was cast after an audition and dived straight into the production. Fans of Wolverine were initially unhappy with this, finding Jackman too tall and clean-shaven for the character. Of course, both X-Men and Jackman's performance would both be praised, and the actor would reprise the role in a further eight movies, ending with 2017's Logan.
Mission: Impossible II would continue to suffer through issues, with the studio dismayed at Woo's initial three-hour cut. Another editor was brought on to drastically re-cut the sequel and get it into shape, though the final product suffers from numerous plot and pacing issues as a result. While M: I 2 would gross nearly twice as much as X-Men, it received mixed reviews and is commonly considered the weakest of the series by fans.
It's hard to say what would have happened if Dougray Scott had played Wolverine over Hugh Jackman, in the same way its almost impossible to imagine any actor but Jackman in the role. For Scott's part, he feels no bitterness at missing out on the franchise, having praised Jackman's work in the role. He's worked constantly ever since too, having most recently appeared on Fear The Walking Dead and Batwoman.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019