Hugh Jackman


  1. Richard White, Beauty and the Beast, 1990.    The Brit was told he was not arrogant enough for Gaston’s voice in Disney’s 30th toon feature. Idem for Donny Osmond, Patrick Swayze. Everett remembered the comments, which is how he won Prince Charming in Shrek 2, 2003.
  2. Russell Crowe, Gladiator, 1999.  Ridley Scott had three major problems with his Roman empire epic. First: who could be his (fictional) Maximus Decimus Meridius.  Candidates included Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson (“I’m too old.”), Hugh Jackman and Tom Sizemore (from Scott’s Black Hawk Down, 2000. Second: He looked at the real Colisseum in Rome and said: “Too small”!  Third: Crowe kept rewriting the script. “Your lines are garbage, but I’m the greatest actor in the world, and I can make even garbage sound good.”
  3. Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge! 1999.  Early on, it was Heath Ledger and Catherine Zeta-Jones for Christian and Satine in Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann’s musical extravaganza – the 1890s Paris shot in Sydney! Well, he changed his mind.  Why have an Aussie bloke when an Aussie girl, Nicole Kidman, was obviously the perfect Satine.  And so he looked over Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Ronan Keating and the Northern Irish singer-songwriter Tim Wheeler.  Oh and…  there you go, Ewan McGregor!
  4. Joaquin Phoenix, Quills, 2000.    The Aussie was in the mix for the Abbé  de Coulmier, boss of the Charenton insane asylum where the Marquis de Sade was incarcerated in 1789.. But the enlightened abbott went to co-star Kate Winslet’s choice. The film’s patron saint also refused Billy Crudup, Jude Law and another Aussie, Guy Pearce. None of them was right. Coulmier was a 4ft hunchback!
  5. Richard Gere, Chicago, 2002.
  6. Keanu Reeves, Constantine, 2003.      Earlier choices also included Nic Cage, Mel Gibson, Kevin Spacey.
  7. Clive Owen, King Arthur, 2003.    Three Aussies, Jackman, Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson, refused the head seat at the Round Table during the five years director Michael Bay spent prepping his take. Antoine Fuqua took over. He wanted Daniel Craig. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer insisted on Owen – “he’s going to be the new James Bond” and that would add extra life to the royal DVD.  Except, the next 007 was… Craig.
  8. Johnny Knoxville, Grand Theft Parsons 2003.    Already committed to X2 and Van Helsing, Jackman had to give up playing Phil Kaufman, who  kidnapped the corpse of his friend, Gram Parsons (26), to follow his wishes to be cremated in the California desert in 1973. (Parsons was the father of “Cosmic American Music” with such bands as The Byrds). Jackman’s replacement  was – surprisingly, almost insultingly – the Jackass MTV star. His company was called: Dickhouse Productions. ’Nuff said?
  9. Gerard Butler,  The Phantom of the Opera, 2003.    Far too busy as Van Helsing to test in  four hours of prosthetic make-up. They rang to ask about my availability, Jackman explained,  probably about 20 other actors as well. I wasn’t available, unfortunately. So, that was a bummer.”  Not 20, but certainly… Antonio Banderas, Heath Ledger, Meat Loaf, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Space,  John Travolta…and Butler. Never mind, Jackman  got the next filmusic, Les Miserables, 2011. 
  10. Thomas Jane, The Punisher, 2003. Jackman passed on Marvel’s offer to follow Wolverine with be the punishng judge-jury-executionerFrank Castle… in order to go vampire hunting as Van Helsing. Another Aussie, Richard Roxburg, was Dracula.
  11. Ioan Gruffudd, Fantastic Four, 2004.     Already a Marvel superhero institution as Wolverine in X–Men, Jackman was hardly interested in Reed Richards, aka Marvel’s Mr Fantastic. Before the Welshman won the the timid, brilliant and broke scientist, other possibilities had been Jackman, George Clooney, Brendan Fraser, Jeff Goldblum, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson.
  12. Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, 2006.
  13. Toby Stephens, The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey, 2004.     The Aussie passed  on Captain William Gordon, circa 1857, when one fifth of humanity was ruled by a company, the British East India Company – history’s most successful business  with its own laws,  administration and army.
  14. Matthew McConaughey, Sahara, 2005.       Jackman was close to being the  second Dirk Pitt,(after the late Richard Jordan in Raise The Titanic, 1980).  There will not be a third!  Despite the Clive Cussler books reading exactly like good  action scripts. There were Cruise rumours and the movie needed such spirit. McConaughey has all the charisma of a toilet seat.
  15. Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.      Sheer blasphemy! Hanks was not actually first on director Ron Howard’s list!
  16. Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland, 2006.Withdrew in 2003 from the biopic of George Reeves, the 1950s TV Superman – then  titled, of course, Truth, Justice & The American Way – to be Van Helsing. Ben won that deal!
  17. Edward Norton, Pride and Glory, 2006.     9/11 postponed the movie when co-stars Jackman and Mark Wahlberg agreed that after the Twin Tower heroics, was not the right time for an NYPD corruption exposé. Once made, the movie was shelved for two years… when Wahlberg took over Jackman’s role in The Lovely Bones, 2008.
  18. Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight, 2007.
  19. Viggo Mortensen, Good, 2007.      Danish Lorne Scherfig was set to direct Jackman  two years earlier as the good professor sucked into what he hates  in 30s Germany – the Nazi party.  But Austrian Vicente Amoton finally helmed.
  20. Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man, 2007.   During the 17-year gestation, Jackman, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Timothy Olyphant, Clive Owen and Sam Rockwell were run up the Marvel flagpole for Tony Stark, aka you-know-who. (Even Michael Jackson). But director Jon Favreau only wanted Downey. “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark.”

  21. Mark Wahlberg, The Lovely Bones, 2008.  First cast was headed by Jackman and, as his wife,  Rachel Weisz. (They had impressed Kiwi director Peter Jackson in The Fountain).  When Jackman’s  schedule door closed, Ryan Gosling’s opened, only to close.  Enter: Wahlberg.  In what our favourite critic Roger shredded as a “deplorable film with this message: If you’re a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to.” 
  22. Jim Sturgess, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, 2008.   Change of voice for  the bar owl hero of the Aussie toon.
  23. Vincent Cassel, Black Swan, 2009.  Jackman and Antonio Banderas were also candidates for the randy choreographer, Thomas Leroy, in the often erotic study of the bleeding art that ballet can be. Cassel compared Leroy to George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet, “a control freak, a true artist using sexuality to direct his dancers.” Others saw Lerpoy as an updated version of Anton Walbrook in The Red Shoes classic of 1947.
  24. Ryan Gosling, Drive, 2010.      Change of stunt-driver-cum-wheelman – with a price on his head –  also led to a change of directors from Neil Marshall to Gosling’s choice of Nicolas Winding Refn. The Danish They stayed together for the 2011 Logan’s Run re-tread.
  25. Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman, 2011.      When Viggo Mortensen finally pulled out of first of two revisionist Ms Whites that year, Wolverine was run up the executive flagpole… until Thor’s$65m bow made Hemsworth the flavour of the hour.

  26. Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2012. 
    Some of the names – and heights – up for Lee Child’s craggy ex-military cop-cum-Sherlock-homeless  were absurd.  Jim Carrey, for example. Jim Carrey!  Some 25 others  were Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes,  Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Hugh Wolverine Jackman, Dwayne Johnson (“I look back in gratitude that I didn’t get Jack Reacher”),  Avatar’s Stephen Lang, Dolph Lundgren, Edward Norton, Ron (Hellboy) Perlman, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (he became John Wick x 5),  Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vince Vaughn, Denzel Washington and the battle-fatigued  Bruce Willis.  Any of them would have been more acceptable than Tom Cruise  – with the exception of Carrey, Depp, Elwes, Reeves and, obviously the Euros. Pitt was best of the pack (remember Fight Club?)… although no one even thought of the obvious choice –   Liam Neeson!  Reacher fans were livid about  the 5ft 5ins Cruise daring to be  the  6ft 5ins  action hero. Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s capitulation over  tiny Tom as her “very tall” Lestat in  Interview With The Vampire, in 1994, author Lee Child declared: “Reacher’s size is a metaphor for an unstoppable force – which Cruise portrays in his own way.” Ah! But then in 2018, after the sequel, Child changed his tune about his child. (They share the same birthday, October 29).  ”Ultimately, the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is... So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom CruiseWe’re rebooting,  we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.” And they did with 6ft. 2ins Alan Richtson – Aquaman in Smallville and Hawk in Supergirl and Titans – for the Amazon series.
  27. Stan Houston, Selma, 2014.   As directors switched from Lee Daniels to Ava DuVernay, Jackman was substituted by Houston as Sema’s racist Sheriff Jim Clark during Dr Martin Luther King’s three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965.

  28. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty, 2015.   In July, Wolverine slashed his way out of being the  mad man suffering depression.   Before the end of August, Smith had  jumped into the Madison Avenue elevator. And just loved the shoot with Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris and  Keira Knightley.“If,” famously said Smith, “we are all judged by the company we keep… then I want this cast with me for life!”








 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  28