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The Real Reason Russell Crowe Turned Down The Wolverine Role

Russell Crowe Gladiator

Hollywood is full of "what if" casting stories that never fail to delight us. From Nicolas Cage almost portraying Superman to Tom Cruise nearly taking on the role of Tony Stark, these hypothetical scenarios constantly keep us wondering what could've been if things had gone slightly differently. One possible superhero casting that almost occurred twenty years ago was Russell Crowe as Wolverine for Bryan Singer's X-Men. The actor was reportedly a frontrunner for the part, but he ultimately turned it down because of the perceived similarities Maximus Aurelius' wolf motif from Gladiator. Crowe explained:

If you remember, Maximus has a wolf at the centre of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion ... which I thought was going to be a bigger deal [at the time]. So I said no, because I didn't want to be 'wolfy', like 'Mr Wolf.'

During a recent appearance on Nova's Fizty and Wippa radio show (via, Russell Crowe admitted that he was at one point considered for the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie. Although it was a seemingly perfect casting choice, he turned down the role because he felt that the wolf symbol of Maximus from Gladiator bore too much similarity to the Marvel character. Faced with a potential typecasting situation, Crowe passed on the role -- which subsequently went to fellow Aussie Dougray Scott, before finally landing on Hugh Jackman when Scott's commitments to Mission: Impossible II went over schedule.

Of course, Russell Crowe eventually did manage to join the superhero genre -- albeit as a member of the DC universe, instead of the Marvel universe. He quite literally started the DCEU as Superman's father Jor-El during the events of Man of Steel and paved the way for DC's entire slate movies.


That said, it now seems that Russell Crowe has moved on from superhero cinematic universes for something considerably different. With his upcoming role as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in The Mummy, he will become a focal point the in burgeoning Universal Monsters Universe -- which is something that we're beyond excited for. The internal dichotomy of Jekyll and Hyde relies on the concept of a man struggling with his inner beast, so it looks like we may soon see Crowe's take on Wolverine (in a manner of speaking) after all.

In the end, I think we can safely say that we're happy with the way things turned out. Hugh Jackman's take on Wolverine has become legendary, and Russell Crowe's upcoming stint as Dr. Jekyll looks insane -- in the best possible way. The Mummy will hit theaters later this summer on June 9; stay tuned for more details!

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Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.