Hugh Jackman Once Explained the Reason He Really Turned Down James Bond

Hugh Jackman never thought he’d land the role as Wolverine. The actor would later become a household name after playing the iconic Marvel character in 2000’s X-Men. But at the time, he was convinced it wasn’t going to work out. Then it did. Jackman became a staple of the X-Men franchise. But his commitments to that series aren’t the only reason he bowed out of conversations for him to be the next James Bond. Here’s why.

Hugh Jackman wears a suit and glasses as he poses
Hugh Jackman | Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

‘X-Men’ star Hugh Jackman famously turned down James Bond

In a 2017 interview with Variety, Jackman opened up about the time he said “no thanks” to the producers of the James Bond movies. The discussions happened right as Jackman was heading into filming on 2003’s X2: X-Men United. At the time, the actor was locked into playing Wolverine for a while. And Jackman was hesitant to commit to another franchise actor at that point, he admitted.

“I always tried to do different things,” Jackman told Variety. “But there was a time between [2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand] and [2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine] when I could see the roles getting smaller. People wanted me to play that kind of hero part exclusively. It felt a little bit claustrophobic.”

In addition to his many X-Men movies, Jackman headlined action movies such as Swordfish and Van Helsing around that time. And in the 2010s, he took on a greater variety of roles, splitting his time between theater and movies like Real Steel, Les Misérables, Prisoners, and Eddie the Eagle.

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The actor had a deeper reason than just his busy schedule

However, Jackman had another reason why he didn’t want to sign on for James Bond. At that point, the most recent entry in the franchise was 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. That movie and 2002’s Die Another Day marked the last two Bond movies featuring Pierce Brosnan in the role. Neither had met expectations, and Jackman was personally dissatisfied with how the franchise had become so overblown, he told Variety.

“I was about to do [X2] and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real. And the response was, ‘Oh, you don’t get a say. You just have to sign on.’ I was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, I’d never have time to do different things.”

So it seems Jackman was turned off by the direction the Bond franchise had taken in Brosnan’s run. Ironically, the Bond producers ultimately agreed with Jackman’s take. The next film, 2006’s Casino Royale, rebooted the series with Daniel Craig in the lead and a new, grittier tone. Craig concludes his run as Bond in his forthcoming fifth entry, 2021’s No Time to Die. Meanwhile, fans are still hoping for more of Jackman’s Wolverine.

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What is Hugh Jackman’s net worth currently?

With a role as iconic as Wolverine under his belt, surely Jackman’s net worth reflects his success in Hollywood over the last two decades. And indeed, the actor currently holds a net worth of roughly $180 million. Most of that likely stems from his 17-year run as Wolverine, which culminated in 2017’s Logan.

However, Jackman also scored another career highlight with the mainstream popularity of 2017’s The Greatest Showman. That musical film follows the life of P.T. Barnum and went on to earn $437 million worldwide, according to Box Ofice Mojo. In contrast, Jackman’s latest, 2021’s Reminiscence, is so far off to a poor start.