Hugh Jackman already had one franchise under his belt as X’Men‘s Wolverine. But when the actor had the opportunity to lead another franchise in James Bond, he rejected the role.
After seeing what Daniel Craig did as Bond, however, Jackman wished he might have made a different choice.
Hugh Jackman was approached for James Bond before Daniel Craig
The Bond franchise was temporarily left in limbo after Pierce Brosnan’s take on the character. Longtime James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli wanted to take the Bond franchise in a different, more grounded direction. Her new Bond would be at the beginning of his 007 career, younger, and initially less reliant on gadgets to solve his problems.
Daniel Craig would be the actor chosen to shape this new version of Bond. But before Craig, Jackman was approached for the franchise right in the middle of his X-Men stardom. His reservations, however, led Jackman on a path away from the Bond series.
“I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” Jackman remembered in an interview with Variety. “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.”
Hugh Jackman regretted passing on James Bond after seeing Daniel Craig in the role
Years after passing up on the role, Jackman felt differently about his decision to pass on Bond earlier. Later on, the actor enjoyed the direction Craig’s new Bond was taken in. So much so that if given a second choice, he’d meditate on the offer a bit longer than he did.
“At the time it was wrong for me, but when I saw Daniel in the movie I thought maybe I should have been more interested, because it was great,” Jackman once told The Sun (via Contact Music). “But I am great mates with Daniel. When he was in Australia we caught up and, you know, no one would have played Bond better.”
The actor even quipped that he was waiting for Craig to retire from Bond so Jackman could finally get his hands on him.
“I will just wait. The good thing about Daniel is he’s, what, 62 now, isn’t he? He’s falling apart at the seams. So I just keep telling him, ‘I’m ready, whenever you want to let him go, I’m ready.’ The good thing is I have also got a British passport,” he joked.
Hugh Jackman helped Daniel Craig with his James Bond fame
Craig became a household name after his performance as James Bond. But he wasn’t accustomed to the fame and attention the part attracted, and at times even found himself overwhelmed. Due to his sudden popularity from the X-Men films, Jackman could relate to Craig’s dilemma. Which was why Jackman was able to offer his friend some helpful words of wisdom and encouragement.
“He just allowed me to sort of relax into it a bit more,” Craig once said in an interview with Lorraine.
Although Jackman’s advice was simple, it was enough to ease the Bond actor’s worries.
“He’s been famous for longer than I have, let’s put it that way,” he continued. “[Jackman said] ‘Just enjoy it.’ A switch went off in my head.”
RELATED: How Tall Is Daniel Craig Compared to Other ‘James Bond’ Actors?