- 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.
- Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge! 2001. Among Australian writer-director Baz Luhrmann’s considerations for Christian: Jake Gyllenhaal, Irish singer Ronan Keating, Heath Ledger and Tim Wheeler of the Ash rock group. “They didn’t have to be big needs,” director Baz Luhrmann explained about his needs, “but they had to be able to move you emotionally. Basically, Ewan and Nicole were the best for the job. That’s the bottom line of it.” Jackman starred in Luhrmann’s next movie, Australia, 2008. Didn’t help it.
- Richard Gere, Chicago, 2002.
- Keanu Reeves, Constantine, 2003. Earlier choices also included Nic Cage, Mel Gibson, Kevin Spacey.
- 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?
- 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.
- Thomas Jane, The Punisher, 2004. Too busy being Van Helsing to take on Special agent Frank Castle, aka the one-man judge-jury-executioner. Not all Marvel Comic cuts won the same amount of expertise as X-Men.
- 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.
- 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.
- Matthew McConnaughey, 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. McConnaughey has all the charisma of a toilet seat.
- Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code, 2005. Sheer blasphemy! Hanks was not actually first on director Ron Howard's list!
- 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!
- Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, 2006.
- 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.
- Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight, 2007.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Jim Sturgess, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, 2008. Change of voice for the bar owl hero of the Aussie toon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2012. Wolverine turns tough cop? I don’t think so! Jamie Foxx, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Vince Vaughn also had One Shot - original title of the book… and film… about a Sherlock homeless!
- 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.
- 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. With Rooney Mara.