Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is one of the most beloved superhero characters in the X-Men franchise. The Australian actor has even received numerous accolades for the same, including the Guinness World Record for ‘longest career as a live-action Marvel character,’ a title that he held till 2021. Safe to say that Wolverine was Jackman’s breakthrough role.
But if it wouldn’t have been for Viggo Mortensen turning down the role of the formidable mutant, Jackman probably wouldn’t have been where he is at present, and fans would’ve seen the Lord of the Rings star join forces with Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 3 instead. Luckily for the Logan star though, Mortensen ended up rejecting the role all those years back.
See also: “Nobody watches comic book movies, they’re dead forever”: Hugh Jackman Received Stern Warning About Accepting His Role as Wolverine in X-Men Which Was Expected to Fail
Why Viggo Mortensen Passed Up the Role of Wolverine?
Back when Bryan Singer was helming the very first X-Men film in 2000, he offered Logan’s role to the Captain Fantastic star, Viggo Mortensen. The Danish-American actor had revealed the same on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, recalling how he was “bothered” by the inexorable commitment that was bound to follow if he were to accept the role.
“The thing that bothered me at the time was just the commitment of endless movies of that same character over and over. I was nervous about that.”
However, keeping his apprehensions aside at the time, Mortensen decided to at least pay Singer a visit before taking any decisions. He even took his then 10-year-old son Henry with him because he happened to be a comic book geek.
“In the back of my mind, I was thinking [Henry] could learn something too, because I did let [him] read the script and he goes: ‘This is wrong, that’s not how it is,'” the Green Book actor remarked. When they met with the director, Henry pointed out the same to Singer which amused the latter quite a lot. The Primetime Emmy nominee then explained the concept of “creative liberties” and how some aspects of the script had to be altered to make it more suitable for the cinematic industry.
After all was said and done though, Mortensen ended up going with his gut, thereby turning down the role and simply labeling it as a matter of “conflicting schedules” instead. And that’s how he passed on the famous $8.45 billion franchise role to Hugh Jackman.
See also: “You do know, don’t you?” Viggo Mortensen Left Producer Red-Faced For Asking Him to Return as Aragorn for Hobbit Trilogy, Didn’t Want to Desecrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s Spotless Legacy
Viggo Mortensen Has Turned Down Numerous High-Profile Projects
X-Men wasn’t the only big-budget film that Mortensen, 64, has dismissed. Over the length of his long career in Hollywood, there have been countless times when the Eastern Promises actor almost starred in some of the most renowned films today, before he turned them down.
Rupert Sanders-helmed Snow White and the Huntsman was one such movie in which Mortensen had been offered to star in. But due to creative differences, he denied the offer and once again closed the matter with the seal of a tight schedule. Hunstman’s role which was initially proffered to Mortensen was passed it on to Marvel star Chris Hemsworth.
See also: “I just couldn’t do that”: Lord of the Rings Star Viggo Mortensen Reveals Why He Refused to Work With Quentin Tarantino After Getting Rejected for Reservoir Dogs
The award-winning actor also claimed that he had been given the opportunity to star in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel only to turn it down. Though he never revealed which role he’d been offered in the Henry Cavill-starrer, rumors and speculation pointed toward that of the supervillain General Zod, who was ultimately portrayed by Michael Shannon.
But Mortensen rejecting these roles has nothing to do with him being against “big-budget movies,” as he himself clarified in an old interview with Daily Beast. “I don’t have anything against working on big-budget movies and getting paid well. And I honestly don’t try to avoid any type of movie or genre,” he said. It was all simply put, circumstantial at large.
Source: Happy Sad Confused podcast