All journeys come to an end, but — at the risk of quoting positive affirmations or slogans from far too many motivational posters — it's not just about getting from point A to point B; it's also about the process of discovery along the way.
Hugh Jackman's journey as Wolverine has spanned 17 years. Along the way, Jackman has continually grown into the role in a step-by-step process that has led to the final stop, Logan, which is due for release this year.
Casting the mind back from this point, it's hard to imagine anyone else portraying the adamantium clawed mutant, with Jackman's longevity a fitting reflection of his suitability for the super-powered icon.
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However, when the journey began at point A with Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000), Jackman admits he struggled playing the role, and feels his early performance was "average."
Jackman Struggled To Adapt As Wolverine
While presenting an award at the Producers Guild Awards, the 48-year-old admitted that those early steps along the road were challenging. He said:
"I was kind of struggling, to be honest. It was the first movie I had ever done in America. I was pretty tight. I was nervous. I was average, to be honest, at best. No one was saying anything and I sort of thought I was getting away with it, but I wasn't."
Fortunately, Fox studio executive Tom Rothman saw through Jackman's reserved demeanour, identifying his immense potential as #Wolverine. Rothman — to whom Jackman was giving the Milestone Award at the ceremony — took the actor aside for some inspired, poetic words of confidence. Jackman added:
"He told me that he believed in me, that from the moment he'd seen my tape he had a gut feeling I was the guy, but watching my dailies was like watching someone put a lampshade over a light."
Jackman's Longevity Can Make 'Logan' Special
Rothman was of course correct, although perhaps he didn't realise how bright that light would shine — for nearly two decades. What is most interesting about Jackman's anecdote is the level of patience #Fox had at the time, instead giving their Wolverine star time to breathe in the role, even though he didn't necessarily set the world on fire immediately.
At the turn of the millennium, there was less pressure on superhero movies as there is today. Whether studios would be as willing to stick with someone who didn't get off to a running start is questionable, but Jackman's stint does prove that with time, an actor can add more nuance to a character.
With that in mind, #Logan will be special. Of course, top-level actors should be able to turn up to any role, make it their own and make audiences feel like they've been doing it for years. But for Jackman, the final curtain is different. The journey has been long and tough, but everything has led to the final, post-apocalyptic, future depiction of the beloved #XMen.
For all the years of hard graft — and the transition from nervous newcomer to one of Hollywood's most distinguishable performances — the final stop is approaching. The lampshade may've been removed a long time ago, but Logan could be the brightest Jackman has shone in a performance 17 years in the making.
What is Jackman's best performance as Wolverine? Could Logan top it?
(Source: E! News)