Hugh Jackman has revealed he was offered the role of James Bond more than a decade ago, but turned it down after being told he would have no say in changing the “unbelievable and crazy” direction of the franchise at that time.
The star, who has sparked awards season buzz for all-singing, all dancing musical The Greatest Showman has discussed being offered Bond before, but he has now told Variety it was the fantastical nature of scripts that turned him away from the job.
Given that filming for that second X-Men movie took place in the summer of 2002, it’s clear what Jackman was talking about. The Bond film released later that year was Die Another Day, complete with ice palaces and invisible cars.
Jackman said: “I was about to do X-Men 2 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. 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.”
It would be another four years until Bond finally got something of a gritty reboot when Daniel Craig arrived in 2006 for Casino Royale, which gave the franchise a very different feel. Jackman, meanwhile, went on to become the longest serving member of the X-Men ensemble, culminating in this year’s $600 million hit Logan.