Hugh Jackman apologizes to the actor who was supposed to play Wolverine
Can you imagine Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix? How about John Travolta as Forrest Gump? Or Sean Connery as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings? Believe it or not, those actors were the first picks for the roles, but turned them down. It's a shame, because I love the idea of Sean Connery as Gandalf. Imagine him in the Mines of Moria, being pursued by the Balrog, snarling in that thick Scottish accent, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"
Actors turn down roles for a variety of reasons: scheduling conflicts, they don't like the script, they don't have a sex scene with a supermodel. Whatever the reason, they've got to be kicking themselves when the film becomes a hit and that character becomes iconic.
Hugh Jackman hit the lottery when he was cast as Wolverine. And not just because the workout routine made him totally ripped. Amazingly, he played Wolverine for 17 years, appearing in nine X-Men movies. The first one came out all the way back in 2000, kicking off the superhero movie craze that's still going strong today. The most recent one, Logan, is arguably the best, getting serious Oscar buzz. But the role almost didn't go to "Huge Jacked Man". Fox's first choice to play Wolverine was Dougray Scott.
If you're not Dougray Scott's parents, you're probably wondering, "Who's Dougray Scott?" Granted, he's not a household name, but he's acted in a lot of projects, including "Taken 3," "Fear The Walking Dead" and "Hemlock Grove." But he's probably most famous for playing the villain in "Mission Impossible 2". On the upside, he got to do some pretty awesome action scenes with Tom Cruise.
On the downside, the shoots went over schedule, costing him the chance to play everyone's favorite surly Canadian with retractable claws and an adamantium-plated skeleton.
In an interview, Hugh said he apologized to Dougray for the cruel fate the gods dealt him:
"[I met Scott] early on and I said to him, ‘Man, I am sorry.’ And he said, ‘It’s just business but you have just gotten one of the greatest roles out there so go crush it.’ I just remember being so impressed by that."
Luckily, Dougray doesn't hold a grudge:
"I like Hugh, he’s a really lovely guy. It wasn’t as if he stole it off me. I’ve really enjoyed the movies I got to do and the TV work. I feel very fortunate anyway."
And Hugh's well-aware of the circle of life (and remakes). It's only a matter of time before one else takes the role:
"Hopefully I am a big enough guy that when someone else takes over, I will do exactly what was done to me and I feel glad to just be a part of the legacy of that character."
Too bad they get along so well - I was hoping for a Hugh Jackman vs. Dougray Scott fight scene. Also, I'm still hoping for a "Lord of the Rings" remake with Sean Connery as Gandalf. Hurry up, Hollywood! It's not too late!