Hugh as Wolverine
There is a reason the character of Wolverine is so popular. First of all, he is just so…cool. Who wouldn’t want to be able to heal themselves? Plus, Wolverine has been in almost every iteration of X-Men, from comics to animated series to films. Fans just want to see this character.
Stepping into the role of such a popular comic character was probably no easy thing. For one thing, fans of comic books are notoriously picky about who represents their beloved heroes and how the character translates in different mediums. Hugh Jackman was not really someone they were considering for the part (lucky for us, they weren’t the ones casting anybody).
To give them some slack, though, I will say that Hugh is not even physically right for the role – Wolverine is supposed to be significantly shorter than Hugh is. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that over the course of the X-Men series, scenes with Wolverine have the camera angled down at him to make him appear smaller or he is shot from the waist up so you can’t tell how tall he is. When there are other characters in scenes with him, they often stood on platforms or wore shoes with lifts. All of these things helped create the allusion that Hugh was shorter than the other characters. Now, they probably could have just cast a shorter actor, but why pass up on somebody that talented?
For another thing, the part is physically demanding. Hugh studied lots of martial arts and wore his claws constantly to really feel like the character. He got into incredible shape and cut himself a bunch of times with the claws, but that’s the kind of dedication he has. He had a strict free weight workout regime and also followed a specific diet in order to get the physique you see on-screen. Oddly enough, there are reports that he actually hates working out, and that he sees it as all part of the job.
Wolverine is also hard to play. His character is very primal, almost feral, in nature. That means Wolverine is probably not going to share a lot of feelings or talk nonstop. That’s just not the way the character would operate. When you don’t have a lot of lines to express your character’s emotions, you have to rely on expressions, tone, and actions to convey what you want the audience to take away from your performance. Hugh studied a lot of other “strong, silent types” like Clint Eastwood to get an idea of how to pull off the tough guy act in a believable way. I think he did a pretty good job over the course of the 17 years he’s had the part, don’t you?
Sadly, he has repeatedly said Logan was his last time putting on the claws, despite fan disappointment and pleas from Ryan Reynolds, who plays Deadpool and really wants to do a crossover. It does not seem like a priority at the moment for Hugh, but let’s not rule it out long term!