Variety has an in-depth interview with Hugh Jackman today in advance of the release of The Greatest Showman, his upcoming musical about P.T. Barnum, the founder of what would become the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
In the profile, Jackman discusses how his ongoing issues with basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer on his nose and shoulder, nearly led to the movie not getting greenlit (he’d had surgery on his nose just 24 hours before a presentation to the producers who were deciding whether or not the movie would be made, and he defied doctors’ orders and the possibility his stitches might burst to sing for the the bigwigs), and bidding a fond farewell to Wolverine, the character he’d played for 17 years. But the most interesting thing we learned in this interview was this: we almost had a 007 played by Jackman. Hugh Jackman.
“I was about to do ‘X-Men 2’ and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” recalls Jackman as he dives into a plate of salmon. “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.”
Bonus points if you, like me, imagined him saying that while literally swan-diving into a plate of salmon.
The rest is history. Daniel Craig became James Bond, and Jackman played Wolverine until he was nearly years old.
The Greatest Showman will be released on December 20.