It’s hard to imagine, given that he’s appeared in more X-Men movies than anyone else, but Hugh Jackman says he had a fair amount of trouble getting the character of Wolverine right when he first started.
At the Producers Guild Awards over the weekend, Hugh Jackman talked about his very first days on set of 2000's X-Men. “I was kind of struggling, to be honest. It was the first movie I had ever done in America,” he said. “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.”
It’s worth noting here that Jackman wasn’t the first choice for the role. Bryan Singer had originally cast Dougray Scott, who had to pull out due to scheduling. He did Mission Impossible II instead, and Hugh Jackman was brought on.
Jackman explained that it was studio executive Tom Rothman who talked to him about it. Rothman both comforted him and gave him a kick to the ass. “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,” said Jackman.
Hard to imagine any exec feeling comfortable being that confrontational on an X-Men set with Jackman now. Mostly, they seem to be in the business of begging him to stay.