Tall, handsome, talented and charismatic, it was no big surprise when Hugh Jackman walked out of The Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and straight into a starring role in the ABC-TV prison drama, Correlli. From there, Jackman went on to more Australian television (Snowy River, Halifax fp) and impressive film roles (Paperback Hero, Erskineville Kings), before he headed over to Hollywood and started the infamously arduous audition grind. He might even still be trudging around that circuit had another actor’s misfortune not so pristinely played into his hands. Jackman was a last-minute addition to the X-Men (2000) cast because director Bryan Singer’s first choice to play comic book anti-hero and all round badass, Wolverine – Scotsman, Dougray Scott – was ironically held back by his work on the Australian set of Mission: Impossible II, and was not able to make the start date for what would become one of the first in the current wave of rock-solid superhero pics. The studio had, however, already been looking at Jackman, who says that he’d done an earlier audition for X-Men. “They were already filming at the time, and I knew that I really wasn’t doing it,” Jackman told Screen Rant of his first meeting with the producers of X-Men, one of whom happened to be Kevin Feige, the man behind Marvel Studios’ current success. “Then within a week, all of a sudden, the Dougray thing started to unravel. So then, I went back and did a real audition. I don’t know what the first audition was…maybe for the studio to see me more? I don’t know, or maybe they were anticipating what was coming. Who knows?” Either way, Dougray Scott was out, and Hugh Jackman was in, effectively launching the Australian actor into superstardom.
Would It Have Worked?
It’s tough to say. Despite being physically wrong for the part (Wolverine is famously short and stocky in build, as per the comic books), Hugh Jackman has well and truly made Marvel’s most fascinating anti-hero his own. Dougray Scott has, however, got the right kind of look for the role, and has established himself as a solid actor in TV series like Hemlock Grove (in which he ironically stars with X-Men’s Famke Janssen) and Fear The Walking Dead. Dougray Scott may have been able to wear the Wolverine claws with authority, but we’ll just never know…