We hear stories about actors being cast as superheroes who have never picked up a comic book all the time, but Hugh Jackman took this a step further when he showed up for his Wolverine audition back in the late ’90s for the first X-Men movie. He didn’t even know wolverines existed — and he found out in the most delightfully awkward way.
“I didn’t even know there was a wolverine,” said Jackman at a press event earlier this week, according to Page Six. “I literally, embarrassingly did about two weeks of research on wolves. I was rehearsing for three weeks and I was shooting, so I was kind of on my own. I remember going past an IMAX in Toronto, and there was an IMAX documentary about wolves, and so I thought, ‘I’ll go and see that.'”
So Jackman came to the X-Men set and started being the best wolf-esque superhero he could be, until director Bryan Singer stopped him.
“He said, ‘Are you sort of walking funny, what’s going on?'” Jackman remembered. “And I said, ‘I’ve been doing this thing with wolves,’ and he goes, ‘You know you’re not a wolf, right?'”
When Singer told Jackman Wolverine was, you know, based on a wolverine:
“I said, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as a wolverine,'” Jackman said. “[Singer said] ‘Go to the zoo, dude.’ I literally didn’t know it existed.”
This makes me very happy, but it’s honestly not that embarrassing. If someone doesn’t know wolverines exist, I could easily see them thinking Wolverine is a superhero name modified on the character’s core concept, a la Tigra or Magneto. Plus, Jackman grew up in Australia, where there are zero wolverines and very little reason for anyone to bring them up.
Besides, I think we all have things we think we know are true, but are not in any way, shape, or form. For instance, I somehow graduated college without knowing that the word “crayon” wasn’t pronounced like “crown.” I said it that way for 24 years with total certainty I was correct.
Still, Wolverine didn’t know wolverines were real until after he was Wolverine. Fun!