Hugh Jackman had no idea wolverines were real animals until he starred as Wolverine in the first X-Men movie.
The Australian actor played the character in Bryan Singer’s 2000 film based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, which told the story of a group of mutants with superhuman powers.
While playing Wolverine launched Hugh’s Hollywood career, during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night, the star recalled how embarrassed he was on the set of the movie when he learned that wolverines aren’t “made-up” creatures.
“Embarrassingly, I didn’t know what a wolverine was. I had never heard of such an animal, and I presumed it was a made-up name for the comic book. I had never read an X-Men comic. I had never seen a wolverine; we don’t have them in our zoos, and there are a lot of really crazy animals in Australia,” he said. “So, I presumed it was a wolf and I did study wolves. I watched some documentaries.
“I put in the hours, and I turned up on set for a fight rehearsal and I was just incorporating some of that (wolf behaviour) … and the director goes, ‘What are you doing, man?’ I said, ‘I was doing some work on the wolves, blah blah blah.’ And he goes, ‘Wolves? Why wolves? You’re playing a wolverine!’ I go, ‘That’s not an animal.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, it is. Go to the zoo!’ It was a humiliating moment… and three weeks of wasted research.”
During the interview, Hugh also paid tribute to X-Men writer and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who died on Monday at the age of 95.
The Logan star described Lee as a “true gentleman” and “creative genius” and also recalled a time when he realised just how beloved he was by fans around the world.
“If you ever want to get a real understanding of where you’re at in the world, you think, ‘I’m Wolverine. I’m walking into Comic-Con… This is a good day for me.’ I was on a red carpet and I was the only one on there, and no one was taking my photo, because at the other end was Stan Lee. There were about 300 photographers and interviewers – just on Stan!” the 50-year-old said. “Stan, God bless you. You’re one of the greats.”