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Hugh Jackman Explains Why He Felt ‘Lonely’ Filming The First X-Men Movie As Wolverine

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine with adamantium claws out
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

While comic book movies are everywhere, there was a time when these projects were risky. 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies were in many ways ahead of the game, especially the 2000 original movie. And Hugh Jackman recently explained why he felt ‘lonely’ filming the OG X-Men movie as Wolverine.

Hugh Jackman is an A-lister with a massively successful career, but his time as a movie star began thanks to playing Wolverine in the X-Men movies. But he had a bumpy start as Logan, thinking he might even be fired by director Bryan Singer and company. He recently spoke to The New York Times about his career, where he explained the feelings of loneliness when rocking the claws for the first time. In his words,

There were times when I was doing the first X-Men, my first big American movie, when I found it quite lonely. I was mainly from the theater, and you could feel that sense of, “Mmm, it’s a bad smell.” I don’t know exactly when things turned, but when the studio said they liked what I was doing, I could feel everyone coming to me. It made me sad. I realized film was more individual, less of an ensemble. The theater thrives on, and has to have, a feeling of ensemble, or it dies. There’s just no way to get through rehearsals, or eight shows a week, unless you have each other’s backs.

Given how acclaimed Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine was over the course of 17 years, it’s hard to imagine the 53 year-old actor feeling so insecure in the role. But going from theater to film was a major transition back when X-Men was filming back in late 1999. Namely because of how it’s much less of an ensemble than the cast of a stage production.

Hugh Jackman’s comments about filming the first X-Men movie helps to peel back the curtain on what it’s really like making a massive superhero blockbuster. While Jackman looks badass in his star-making role, it didn’t feel quite as glamorous at the time. But we all saw the Oscar nominated actor find his groove, as he’d end up playing Logan in seven movies (in addition to another cameo or two). 

Later in his same interview Hugh Jackman explained how his experience in the early X-Men days has influenced how he works with casts, especially the Broadway company of The Music Man. After all, there are a number of child actors playing denizens of River City. As Jackman explained,

So ever since that first movie, I’ve been pretty proactive in trying to create an atmosphere that is supportive and open. I want to make sure that even under the pressure of a professional situation these kids are still kids.

How sweet is that? Hugh Jackman is known for being a class act, so perhaps this behavior should be no surprise. But it’s still awesome to hear that the acclaimed actor is making sure that the energy on The Music Man feels full and welcoming for the young cast members. And the revival has been seeing great success, earning a whopping six Tony nominations.

While Hugh Jackman is currently starring on Broadway, he’s got a number of film projects coming down the line. And some are still hoping he’ll reprise his role as Wolverine in the MCU. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.