Hugh Jackman Turned Down James Bond Because It Was Too “Unbelievable”

Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images.
If there's one thing we love to do, it's fantasy cast the iconic role of James Bond. As a character, he's quietly seductive, stunningly intelligent, and in enviable physical shape. After all, when he's not entering poker games with the highest stakes (Casino Royale), he's dangling from an antenna cradle by his foot (GoldenEye). There's a million actors we'd love to see in that role, including Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, and Rosamund Pike, because James Bond is whatever we imagine him to be — though Daniel Craig is reprising his role as the English spy.
One actor we never considered for Bond? Hugh Jackman, who was reportedly considered for the action franchise. In a lengthy profile with Variety, Jackman muses on why he turned down the role, and he's very 100% Serious Actor about it.
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"I was about to do ‘X-Men 2’ and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond," says Jackman. "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."
This is really fascinating, because Jackman is essentially stating that James Bond is less realistic and relatable than Logan the Wolverine on X-Men. It makes a lot of sense — in X-Men, Wolverine is given a very complicated back story, and Jackman brings to life Logan's existential confusion with his past and his purpose.
His final X-Men film, Logan, tackles this very story. In the gritty film, Logan drinks too much and works as a limo driver — he's been worn by time, and is indifferent about reclaiming his former glory. "This was not a film about selling lunch boxes or action figures," says Jackman. "It was oriented toward adults. The goal was to make something gritty that was also a character piece."
One could say that a James Bond film isn't necessarily a character piece — but we bet that Jackman could have expanded Bond's role into something resembling the complicated Logan that we will all miss.
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