Many fans of Bryan Singer’s 2000 X-Men movie know that Dougray Scott was originally cast in the role of Wolverine before bowing out due to scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible 2. That being said, it’s Russell Crowe’s connection to the film that make for the most interesting bit of Hollywood trivia. As the story goes, Crowe was Singer’s first choice to play Wolverine, but the actor passed, suggesting instead that the filmmaker look at fellow Australian Hugh Jackman. The rest, as they say, is history.

But why did Crowe pass on the project? Earlier this week, Crowe appeared on Australian morning show Fitzy and Wippa (huh) and finally shared his reason for turning down the iconic role. And, like many of the things that Crowe says and does, this logic seems to be his and his alone (via Heroic Hollywood):

Bryan was a friend at the time and he was really putting the pressure on… If you remember, [Gladiator’s] 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’.

Well, huh. Even setting aside the obvious biological issues there  —  as everyone knows, wolverines belong to mustelidae family of mammals, meaning his character would have been less “wolfy” and more “weasel-y” or “otter-y”  —  these comments by Crowe offer an interesting look at the thought process of actors. Nobody wants to be typecast, and the idea that Crowe might only get to play barbarian warriors was such a concern for the actor that he turned down one of the more lucrative superhero roles of all time. His career certainly didn’t suffer for his decision  —  unlike other actors, his pop culture tombstone won’t read, “Dude Who Turned Down a Superhero Movie”  —  but it is a strange coda to the long and storied career of the Wolverine in film.

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