Kevin Feige: Hugh Jackman was initially rejected as Wolverine for being 'too tall'

Jackman stands 28 cm (11 in) taller than Wolverine, who is said in the original comic book to be 5 ft 3 inches.
Kevin Feige: Hugh Jackman was initially rejected as Wolverine for being 'too tall'

Hugh Jackman was not the first choice to play Wolverine. As unbelievable as it seems, the Australian actor was initially rejected for the role as he was "too tall".

Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige revealed that he was hired back after Scottish actor Dougray Scott dropped out at the last minute.

Although Scott was initially set to play the clawed superhero, Tom Cruise did not want the actor to play both the villain in Mission: Impossible 2 and Wolverine. It was only when Scott opted out of the role Hugh Jackman came to play the iconic character.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Feige, who was an assistant to producer Lauren Shuler Donner at the time, shared, "There was a scramble to get our Wolverine. Lauren was very excited about this Australian guy, who had been rejected initially. In my memory, one of the main reasons was that he was too tall. Wolverine in the comics is called ‘Lil' Fireplugs' sometimes. He's a short guy. But they were desperate."

Jackman stands 28 cm (11 in) taller than Wolverine, who is said in the original comic book to be 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m).

Jackman, who is 6 foot three inches tall, was flown into Toronto for another audition, but after the reading he did with screenwriter Tom DeSanto and director Bryan Singer, the actor thought he didn't stand a chance. Not wanting to send Jackman “out into the cold,” Feige bought him dinner before taking him to the airport.

"I said, ‘Kevin, we all know I'm not getting the part. You don't have to do dinner',"Jackman said to EW. "But no, he sat in there and had a steak dinner with me and then drove me to the airport. I'll never forget it. That was the nicest thing. I thought, I'll never see him again.”

Jackman, however, was not aware of Scott's last-minute exit from the film. Jackman, who had his breakthrough role playing Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000), earned accolades for portraying the role and it garnered rave reviews and revenue at the box office. He reprised his role in 2003's X2, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, and the 2009 prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine, He also cameoed as Wolverine in 2011's X-Men: First Class. He returned for the role of Wolverine again in 2013's The Wolverine, a stand-alone sequel taking place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, and reprised the character in the 2014 sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past and briefly in the 2016 follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse.

Although Jackman had announced his retirement from the character after 2017's Logan, he has reunited with Feige for the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine as Fox merged with Disney in 2020. It is to be noted that Jackman received the Guinness World Record of 'longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero'.

"The notion that, all these years later, we're in a world where [Jackman] is Wolverine, and Deadpool and all of those X-Men characters are together under the same roof, is a pretty amazing quarter-of-a-century experience,” said Feige.

Deadpool & Wolverine releases worldwide on July 26.

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