‘X-Men’: Rachael Leigh Cook Says Turning Down Rogue Was a ‘Huge Misstep’

At 42-years-old, Rachael Leigh Cook has been in the throes of Hollywood for over two and a half decades. Even with such a successful acting career, Cook is still riddled with some regret. For Cook, the biggest regret of her acting career boils down to passing on the opportunity to play Rogue in the X-Men series. Read on to learn more about Cook’s career and why she still considers turning down the chance to play Rogue as the biggest misstep in her career.

Beginning her acting career at the age of 15

Rachael Leigh Cook attending the T.J. Martell Foundatin's 10th Annual LA Family Day in Los Angeles, California
Rachael Leigh Cook | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

After beginning her modeling career at the tender age of 10, Rachael Leigh Cook landed her first acting gig at just 15-years-old. According to IMDbCook’s first role was Mary Anne Spier in the iconic 1995 film The Baby-Sitters Club. Four years later, Cook landed another big role in the 1999 film She’s All That as the character Laney Boggs. Around the time She’s All That was finding success at the box office, Cook was offered the role of Rogue in the upcoming 2000 film X-Men

Ultimately, Cook decided to turn down the role of Rogue in favor of shooting multiple smaller films and to avoid acting on a green screen. With this decision, the part of Rogue went to Cook’s She’s All That co-star Anna Paquin. One of the films Cook chose to do in favor of X-Men was the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats. While the film is now widely celebrated, it ended up bombing at the 2001 box office. Sadly, none of the films Cook chose in favor of a role in X-Men proved even half as successful.

Missing out on X-Men fame

While Cook realizes that turning down the role of Rogue was a massive misstep in her career, she’s still a little reluctant to draw too much attention to the decision. It didn’t take long for Cook to realize the mistake she had made either. She recently told the New York Times, “As soon as I saw the posters for it, I knew that I’d made a mistake.”

Seeing her former co-star make multiple appearances as Rouge in the X-Men franchise film series throughout the last two decades has been a little like rubbing salt in the wound. Missing out on X-Men fame is a sore spot for Cook. However, while it’s disappointing for Cook to think back on what she missed, she’s also found success through other avenues over the years. One of her most recent roles was Anna Sawyer in the 2021 Netflix film He’s All That, a remake of She’s All That

What does the future hold for the X-Men franchise? 

While missing out on X-Men fame was sad for Cook, landing the role was great for Anna Paquin’s career. Since 2000, the X-Men film series has produced 13 films. Through these films, the franchise has grossed over $6 billion at the box office. However, a significant change came for the successful franchise in 2019 when Marvel Studios obtained the film rights to X-Men after Disney acquired 21st Century Fox.

In October 2020, all the films in the X-Men series were rebranded as Marvel Legacy movies on Disney+. This is undoubtedly a massive change for the franchise. However, with Marvel, the X-Men series is still destined to find success. As it turns out, the character of Rouge might be one of the first X-Men characters to make an appearance in the Captain Marvel franchise. It is even rumored that Rogue may be the villain in the upcoming sequel. With The Marvels film set to release in November 2022, only time will tell what’s next for Rogue and the rest of the characters in the X-Men franchise. 

RELATED: Will Anna Paquin Reprise X-Men’s Rogue in ‘Captain Marvel 2?’