Before Daniel Craig got the role, Hugh Jackman could have played James Bond. But the actor already playing Wolverine in the X-Men saga did not want to be reduced to action films.
Wolverine rather than James Bond
If there is indeed a role that sticks to the skin at Hugh Jackman since its debut on the big screen, it is Wolverine. The actor embodied the superhero from his first film role with X-Men in 2000. Bryan Singer’s film immediately made the actor a star. He then found the character again in 2003 with X-Men 2 then in 2006 with X-Men: The Last Stand. But things could have been different for Hugh Jackman since in addition to Wolverine, he could have played an even more famous character (at the time) from the cinema: james bond.
Indeed, the actor revealed to have been approached to interpret agent 007, before the era of Daniel Craig was launched with Casino Royale (2006), and just after the end of the Pierce Brosnan era with die another day (2002). Remember that to embody the spy, a rule was imposed by the Broccoli family: to be from the commonwealth. What allowed the Australian George Lazenby to have the role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), and of which to Hugh Jackman to be considered.
In an interview for IndieWireJackman explains that when he was approached, he was frustrated with the roles he was offeredand did not want to be reduced to a action man.
I didn’t want to do the same things. You know, that action movie hero role. It was the basic recipe for many American films, an archetype. There was a whole variety of heroic character forms when faced with difficult situations. I thought that was a problem. (For James Bond) I looked at it and thought if I did this and Wolverine, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.
The great career of Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman therefore preferred refuse James Bond to ensure that we can play more varied characters in a multitude of genres. Even if we have seen it a lot in action movies (which unfortunately Van Helsing), his early years were marked by complex works as The Fountain (2006) by Darren Aronofsky or Prestige by Christopher Nolan (2006). Then he even shot in the musical comedy Wretched (2012), the thriller prisoners (2013) or the dramatic comedy Eddie the Eagle (2016).
Which did not prevent him from continuing to play Wolverine. And when we thought he was done with the character after Logan (2017), he agreed to come back for Deadpool 3 alongside Ryan Reynolds. His refusal to play James Bond will therefore have been a bad thing in the end, given the career of Hugh Jackman, and the excellent proposal of Daniel Craig in 007.