‘Kevin, We All Know I’m Not Getting The Part’: Hugh Jackman Recalls The Sweet Gesture Kevin Feige Made After He Bombed During First Wolverine Audition

 Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman became a star when he was cast as Wolverine for 2000’s X-Men. This was long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Jackman was still early into his acting career. It’s been 24 years since the first of the X-Men movies was released, but the Logan star still remembers the audition process like it was yesterday. From his perspective, Jackman completely bombed his first audition for the superhero part, but Kevin Feige’s generosity after the fact was the most memorable aspect of the process.

Jackman sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about reprising Wolverine and being a part of the all-star cast of Deadpool & Wolverine led by Ryan Reynolds. The Oscar nominee got candid about how stressful auditioning for X-Men was way back in 1999, and how he was pretty positive he blew the audition. Despite this, Kevin Fiege, who is now the President of Marvel Studios, invited the young actor to dinner with him and the screenwriter, and drove Jackman to the airport after his presumed failed audition. Jackman recalled the moment, saying:

I said, 'Kevin, we all know I'm not getting the part. You don't have to do dinner.' But no, he sat in there and had a steak dinner with me and then drove me to the airport. I'll never forget it. That was the nicest thing. I thought, I'll never see him again.

For context, in 1999, Kevin Feige wasn’t the powerful Hollywood head honcho he is now. As mentioned in the article, Feige was working on X-Men as a low level producer’s assistant. He must’ve seen something in Jackman and didn’t want him to be left “out in the cold.”

It seems that the Prisoners star was wrong about two things: first, that he wasn’t going to get the part of Wolverine, and second, he wouldn’t see Feige again. Feige’s deep knowledge of comic books allowed him to move up the ladder and eventually become President of Marvel Studios. He has produced a number of X-Men movies that have been led by Jackman, including the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine, which will be the first X-Men film in the MCU canon.

Not only did Jackman end up getting the part of Wolverine, he went on to play the character nine different times ahead of Deadpool 3, which will be number 10. It has been a defining part of Jackman’s career and been a launching pad for a prolific acting career and other creative endeavors. He stated he was “retiring” from the character in 2017 after completing Wolverine’s story arc. However, it seems like returning for Deadpool & Wolverine with Reynolds was too fun of an offer to resist, and will allow him to explore a more humorous side of a previously dour character.

Whether or not Deadpool & Wolverine will actually be the last time Jackman plays the character remains to be seen. Even if this is his final go at it, he seems incredibly grateful for the generosity he has experienced from the Marvel team, and the opportunities the iconic character has given him. Jackman was treated with respect from the very beginning by Feige, and clearly hasn’t forgotten this as he’s become more famous. This also speaks volumes about Feige, and it's part of the reason he was able to rise up the ranks as fast as he did. Kindness truly goes a long way.

You can see Hugh Jackman in the Kevin Feige-produced Deadpool & Wolverine, which will hit theaters nationwide on July 26th. It is one of the buzziest titles on the 2024 movie schedule , so check it out on the biggest screen possible. For more information on other exciting MCU films heading to cinemas in the near future, make sure to consult our upcoming Marvel movies schedule.