Of course, now it seems unbelievable that anyone other than Hugh Jackman could play X-Men's Wolverine, although for a time several names were being passed around.
Initially, Russell Crowe was offered the role, however he turned it down and recommended fellow Australian actor Hugh Jackman instead. However, Bryan Singer then decided to cast Dougray Scott, although that ultimately fell through due to a scheduling conflict with Mission: Impossible II. We all know how this story ends, but did you also know The Lord of the Ring's Viggo Mortensen was almost also Wolverine?
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Mortensen explained his close encounter with the X-Men:
I was offered Wolverine for the first movie—I guess it would have been for the franchise then. That was before I got Lord of the Rings. I remember going to the meeting with the director, Bryan Singer, with my son who was a total comic book expert. He was about 10 at the time. Henry came, and Bryan showed us all these models and storyboards, and Henry was instructing the director, saying, ‘Oh, you’re going to change this thing right here.’ I believe it coincided with another project, and I couldn’t do it.
Mortensen doesn't explicitly state, but it seems likely the other project could have been The Lord of the Rings, as both films began production around the same time.
However, that wasn't the only chance Mortensen had to join the superhero genre. It seems he was also courted for Man of Steel for several roles. He continued:
I was offered two different parts in the last Superman movie they made, but I wasn’t available to do that either.
At the time of Man of Steel's pre-production there were rumors afloat that Mortensen had been approached for the role of General Zod. Clearly, that part eventually went to Michael Shannon, but it's interesting to know there was some truth behind the Hollywood whispers.