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There are few fictional characters quite as iconic as James Bond. 007 has been a mainstay in the pop culture lexicon since Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale, appearing in print at first. Then there's the film franchise, which is one of the longest lasting ones in history. With new actors occupying the space and character every few years, there have been quite a few fantastic movie Bonds in the past few decades. While Daniel Craig is ending his tenure as the deadly agent, it turns out that another popular A-list action star actually turned the role down: Hugh Jackman. While this came out a few years ago, the Logan actor recently explained why he turned down the role, saying:
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. And 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.
Well, this is fascinating. While Hugh Jackman could have made a fantastic James Bond, he was hoping to take the character in a different direction. But feeling his opinion didn't matter to the powers that be, he ended up pivoting to focus on one major franchise at a time.
Hugh Jackman's comments to Variety are particularly interesting considering the path Bond has taken over the past few films. Hugh Jackman wanted a more gritty and real version of the character, which is exactly what we've seen through Daniel Craig's characterization. Debuting in Casino Royale, Craig's Bond was far more dark and realistic than the last few movies starring Pierce Brosnan. A stripped down Bon seems like exactly what the franchise needed, so it turns out that Jackman was right all along.
Of course, it's probably for the best that Hugh Jackman didn't end up taking the role. Leading the X-Men and 007 franchises at the same time probably would have consumed the actor's schedule, not allowing him to take passion projects along the way like Eddie the Eagle or his Oscar nominated performance as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.
But could now be the perfect time for Hugh Jackman to get his go at James Bond? He expressed interest in taking the role two years ago. And with Daniel Craig hanging up his tux after his next go in the franchise, Barbara Broccoli at the 007 team are no doubt looking for another actor with similar star power. Plus, Hugh Jackman's version will be able to sing (bonus!).