Russell Crowe Wolverine

It’s a well-known piece of trivia that Dougray Scott was initially cast to play Wolverine in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, but the actor ended up having to back out of the production due to scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible 2. An unknown actor named Hugh Jackman famously stepped in to take the role and played the character for the next seventeen years, culminating with an epic send-off in this year’s Logan.

But did you know that fellow Aussie Russell Crowe was actually Singer’s first choice to play the part? In a recent interview, Crowe finally revealed the odd reason he turned down the part. Brace yourselves: I’m fairly confident you won’t guess his reasoning. Read why we didn’t see a Russell Crowe Wolverine below.

In an interview with News.com.au (via CBR), Crowe explained that Singer “was really putting the pressure on” for him to take the part, but he avoided it because he didn’t want to be typecast.

“If you remember, [Crowe’s Gladiator character] Maximus has a wolf at the centre of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion at the beginning of the film, which I thought was going to be a bigger deal [at the time]. So I said no, because I didn’t want to be ‘Wolfy the general’ and then ‘Wolfy the other bloke,’ like now I’m Mr. Wolfman. I can only do movies that have something to do with wolves.”

Crowe’s hesitation seems to stem from a misunderstanding that the comic book character Wolverine is based on a wolf, not an actual wolverine. Weirdly enough, it seems Hugh Jackman shared the same assumption.

io9 points us to a report from Page Six, who caught up with Jackman at a press event last week and quoted him as saying:

“I didn’t even know there was a wolverine [before shooting X-Men]. I literally, embarrassingly did about two weeks of research on wolves. I was rehearsing for three weeks and I was shooting, so I was kind of on my own. I remember going past an IMAX in Toronto, and there was an IMAX documentary about wolves, and so I thought, ‘I’ll go and see that.'”

But when he brought some wolf-like movements to his performance, Singer stopped him:

“He said, ‘Are you sort of walking funny, what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I’ve been doing this thing with wolves,’ and he goes, ‘You know you’re not a wolf, right?'”

When Singer told him the creature in question was actually a wolverine, Jackman didn’t buy it. “I said, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as a wolverine.’ [Singer responded] ‘Go to the zoo, dude.’ I literally didn’t know it existed.”

It’s worth noting that wolverines aren’t native to Australia, but this whole thing is still pretty funny. And considering it was Crowe who encouraged his long-time pal Jackman to audition for the role of Wolverine, it’s easy to see how Jackman’s ignorance could have been at least partially influenced by Crowe’s take on the role. I can see it now: “Hey Hugh, there’s this cool part you should go for in X-Men. Name’s Wolverine, he’s like some wolf guy or something. Sounds like you’d be a good fit for it.”

It’s hard to imagine Crowe getting as ripped as Jackman did in the later films to play Wolverine, so ultimately I think the correct casting choice was made here. But what do you think? Would Crowe have made a good Wolverine?

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