Arts & Entertainment

Hugh Jackman Reveals Why He Turned Down Playing James Bond

It worked out pretty well for him.
IMAGE Getty
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Before Daniel Craig picked up that Walther PPK and that closet of suits, the James Bond franchise was searching for a new 007 to replace Pierce Brosnan. Hugh Jackman, who at the time had just begun playing Wolverine in 2000's X-Men, was among the actors being considered for the role. But he ended up turning down one of the most coveted parts in Hollywood.

“I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” Jackman revealed in a new interview with Variety. “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.”

But the problem wasn't just the scripts at the time—which even Brosnan admitted were ridiculous with that invisible car—Jackman also wanted to have time to do other projects.

"I was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, I’d never have time to do different things.” he said. “I always tried to do different things. 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.”

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And he certainly did get a chance to branch out, with films like The Prestige, The Fountain, Les Misérables, and the upcoming The Greatest Showman. Even though the Bond scripts did end up getting grittier, starting with Craig's Casino Royale, Jackman made a smart choice to pursue a filmography that includes diverse performance—although his best film, arguably, remains this year's Logan, his final Wolverine movie.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for Esquire.com
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