Hugh Jackman Thought Wolverines Were Imaginary

Hugh Jackman reveals that up until rehearsals for X-Men, the actor thought wolverines - his signature character's namesake - were imaginary.

By Michileen Martin | Published

hugh jackman

Hugh Jackman’s time as Marvel‘s Wolverine may have provided him his signature role, but before he was rehearsing for X-Men, the actor didn’t realize that wolverines were actual animals. It apparently wasn’t until he was literally on set to film the game-changing superhero movie that he learned the animals were real and that “wolverine” wasn’t just Marvel Comics’ way of making the word “wolf” sound sexier.

In an interview on HBO’s Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace (via Variety) Jackman fielded questions about rumors that he’d used steroids to bulk up when he was cast as Logan. Referencing some of the more negative side effects of steroid use, Hugh Jackman said that while he loved playing Wolverine, he didn’t love it “that much.” However he did confess that due to his ignorance about wolverines, when he was first cast, he studied wolves.

“I had never read the comic book… I didn’t, in Australia we don’t have wolverines. I didn’t know that was a real animal. I’d never heard of a wolverine. I thought it was a made-up animal.”

-Hugh Jackman

Jackman said that he studied for the part by watching documentaries about wolves. He didn’t relate exactly what he was doing that confused the now controversial X-Men director Bryan Singer, but from his account it must have been pretty noticeable.

“So I went [to set] with all these wolf moves and I was doing these moves, and the director said, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Well, I was just thinking wolves are always looking like this because they’re actually smelling, they’ve got their nose to the ground…’ And he goes, ‘What do you mean a wolf?’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, Wolverine — I’m part wolf so…’ and he goes, ‘No, you’re a wolverine.’”

-Hugh Jackman

As Hugh Jackman said, you don’t find wolverines native to Australia and they mostly dwell in northern and remote regions of North America, Asia, and Europe. In spite of how their name sounds, wolverines are more closely related to badgers. They’re extremely muscular and known to be able to take down prey much larger than themselves, which is part of what makes the name so fitting for Marvel’s Logan.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

While Hugh Jackman is right when he says wolverines aren’t found in Australia, the country does have access to the Internet. No, in 1999 it wouldn’t have been as expansive as it is today, but while he might not yet have heard the word “google” used as a verb at that point, he certainly could’ve “asked Jeeves.”

Regardless of how expansive Hugh Jackman’s zoological knowledge was when he began playing Wolverine, no one can deny the mark his talent left on the character. After playing Logan in 3 solo films and 6 X-Men movies, he still isn’t quite done. He’ll be returning to play the world’s most popular X-Man in 2024’s Deadpool 3.