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Whether you're a longtime comic book fan or casual moviegoer, it's hard to think of longtime X-Men member Wolverine without also thinking of Hugh Jackman. The clawed mutant had already enjoyed years of popularity in comics and television before 2000's X-Men, but after his cinematic debut, his fame soared to new heights. 17 years later, Jackman is wrapping up his tenure as Wolverine with Logan. Playing Wolverine is obviously an easier endeavor for Jackman now, but back in those early days, the actor struggled with the character because X-Men was his first time performing in an American movie. He explained:
I was kind of struggling, to be honest. It was the first movie I had ever done in America. I was pretty tight. I was nervous. I was average, to be honest, at best. No one was saying anything and I sort of thought I was getting away with it, but I wasn't.
While speaking with ET Online at the Producers Guild Awards, Hugh Jackman explained how when X-Men started shooting 18 years ago, he had trouble properly playing Wolverine due to his nervousness, which is especially a problem with a character who is known for being ferocious and fearless. As Jackman noted, his behavior didn't go unnoticed, because about a month into filming, studio executive Tom Rothman sat down with the actor and had some blunt words for him about his performance. According to Jackman:
He told me that he believed in me, that from the moment he'd seen my tape he had a gut feeling I was the guy, but watching my dailies was like watching someone put a lampshade over a light.
Ouch! That's not the best way to kick off your time playing a superhero, let alone one of the more popular ones from Marvel Comics. Fortunately, Hugh Jackman's internal issues eventually dissipated, and the rest is history. X-Men introduced Wolverine as a wandering loner with few memories, but when the X-Men tracked him down, he found a higher calling, not to mention allies who could help him learn about his past. In the 17 years since then, Jackman has played the character across eight movies, including two spinoffs, a cameo in X-Men: First Class and popping up in X-Men: Apocalypse to re-tell Wolverine's origin in arguably the most faithful way yet on the big screen.
Assuming that Ryan Reynolds isn't able to convince Hugh Jackman to appear in a Deadpool/Wolverine team-up, Logan will mark Jackman's last time playing Wolverine, but he's going out with a bang. Confirmed to be rated R, Logan will follow a weary Wolverine as he takes care of an ailing Professor X and protects a young girl named Laura from Transigen. It remains to be seen what the character's ultimate fate will be, but Jackman is determined to make his final performance something memorable and fitting for the mutant's legacy.
You can see Hugh Jackman don the adamantium claws one more time when Logan is released on March 3.