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Some actors spend months preparing for a role, fully embodying their character so that the lines between themselves and the fictional persona on the screen become blurred. It’s safe to say that this wasn’t the approach Hugh Jackman took when he first stepped into the part of Wolverine in Fox’s X-Men franchise. In fact, Jackman was apparently so unprepared for the role of the buff mutant that he had never even lifted weights. 

Hugh Jackman first played Wolverine in 2000’s ‘X-Men’

hugh jackman x-men
Actor Hugh Jackman who stars in the new ‘X-Men 2’ film poses for photographers at a photo call April 23, 2003 in Berlin, Germany. | Kurt Vinion/Getty Images

X-Men hit theaters in 2000 and opened up a successful blockbuster franchise. It also served as a launching pad for ongoing roles for many actors including Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, and Anna Paquin. A quick look at Australian actor Hugh Jackman’s IMDb filmography shows that the film offered a breakout role for the star. Prior to the role, he had been in some TV mini-series and had small parts, but getting to play Wolverine launched a career that would lead to many more substantial performances

In addition to reprising his Wolverine role many times, Jackman went on to play the titular character in Van Helsing (2004). Later, Jackman would venture into other genres including portraying Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (2012), starring as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman (2017), and taking on the lead in Reminiscence (2021). 

Hugh Jackman admits he was underprepared to play Wolverine

While today he’s known for a wide variety of performances, Jackman’s name was once basically synonymous with Wolverine. After the initial 2000 flick, Jackman followed it up with reprisals in X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and Logan (2017). 

Clearly, the part suited Jackman well. So it’s funny to hear he really had to get in shape. According to The Indian Express, Jackman admitted that playing Wolverine required a serious change in lifestyle. “Before X-Men I’d never lifted a weight in my life,” he once said. “I used to work at a gym and I’d make fun of all the guys in the weight room.” 

Back in 2020 (for the original film’s 20th anniversary), he also took to Twitter to reflect on the fib he told to land the part. “So here’s the thing. When the studio called and asked if I could get in shape to play #Wolverine in 3 weeks. I might have over promised! But wouldn’t you have too?” Jackman quipped. 

Will Hugh Jackman continue to play Wolverine?


Hugh Jackman Used to Anger Himself With Cold Showers to Play Wolverine

Hugh Jackman has spent two decades playing Wolverine and — as Indian Express reports — with the constant threat of needing to be in shape for filming hanging over his head. “[F]or 17 years I’ve kind of known, look next year you got to get into shape,” Jackman explained of his ongoing performance in the part. 

Now that Jackman is 54 years old, some are wondering if he might soon pass the torch onto another (younger) Wolverine, but it doesn’t seem to be the case just yet. The actor confirmed he’ll be appearing as Wolverine in Deadpool 3, which has an expected release date of November 2024. 

Speculation abounds about who might eventually take on the part. Potential names have included Pablo Schreiber and Daniel Radcliffe, but we’ll continue to see Jackman in the role for the immediate future — which means he’s likely still hitting the gym!