We were so close to living in a world where Hugh Jackman was both the Wolverine and MI6’s most volatile operative. Few actors have been able to bridge two franchises at once, but Jackman almost did, though he ended up turning down the offer to play James Bond in the end.

Here’s the story he told to Variety in his words, as he reportedly “dove into a plate of salmon”:

I was about to do ‘X-Men 2’ and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. 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.

The Pierce Brosnan Bonds weren’t exactly critical darlings, and represented a time in the series where its traditional frivolity and convoluted plots didn’t jive with the more realistic and modern action movies audiences had become used to. Which is why Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale was such a massive success — that movie married the absurdity and fanservice of the classic films with grittier action that involved our hero actually getting pretty beat up from time to time and plots that mostly made sense. Whether that involved any negotiating on Craig’s part is anyone’s guess, but Jackman made the right call not signing onto something he knew he wouldn’t have his heart in.

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