I might be in the minority in the nerd community who while I think Hugh Jackman did a solid job performing as the Wolverine for the X-Men franchise, but there are a couple issues I've always had. He's too tall, standing at 6'2'' he's probably the tallest X-Men in the series, whereas in the comics, he's the opposite. In the comics he squats a lot and has a far more mean attitude than we get from Jackman. Wolverine is stocky, and this is where Jackman has really owned the role in "The Wolverine" and in "[X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942)". I think while Wolverine is a hairy character the amount of body hair given by Jackman is sufficient. I'd rather see an excellent translation from comics to film, but that's not often in Brian Singer's playbook. Singer likes to bring ideas and imagery from the comics and film his own vision, which often isn't my preference.
This is a list of higher profile actors who I think could fit the role in a handful of the requirements, but all of them lack something just like Jackman did. My preference would be to find an actor who can act, some nobody, who just so happens to fit the physical description of Wolverine and is capable of being intense all the time.
5. Scott Caan
He's been on a few lists of Wolverine favorites for a long while now, and much of that is because he stands at 5'5'' on a day he ate his vitamins. He's 38 years old which is fine, but he would need to talk to Barry Bonds about where to find steroids and start hitting the gym hard. He's not a built man, and while you could Photoshop some sideburns in order to make him look like Wolverine, he'd need a lot of work.
4. Jerry Ferrara
Not often found as a candidate in the nerd community for Wolverine, but there are some physical benefits. He's an inch shorter than Scott Caan at 5'4'', and we're getting closer to my preferred Wolverine height. There are some facial features that could aid in the role, but far from perfect. Another issue is that he, like Scott Caan, would need to spend a year in the gym before anyone could sign off on it.
3. Sam Worthington
I think being locked up in the next few years with his role in Avatar suggests there's little to no chance he crosses over into the realm of superheroes. I haven't been a huge fan of his performances either so far but there just aren't many high'ish profile actors to choose from under 6 foot, Worthington measures in at 5'10'' on a good day.
2. Kit Harington
A new choice for me, after being continually impressed with his performance in "Game of Thrones" and seeing his intensity in several scenes makes me think he'd possibly make a good Wolverine. I think I might not be seeing 20/20 as I'm on a Game of Thrones high right now. He measures up to 5'8'' and like most of the other candidates would need to be on a beef only diet and live in the gym.
1. Tom Hardy
Well this is the obvious choice as Hollywoods stockiest, most intense, and talented actor under 6 foot. He measures in at 5'9'' and with his face being covered in "Dark Knight Rises" he could surely commit to another comic book character without it being an issue. The unrealistic piece of this particular choice is that Warner Bros is his home studio, and he works very closely with that studio here in America, so I doubt he'll cross the fence. He was also just about to find himself as a part of the Suicide Squad with Jared Leto before having to hand the role over to Joel Kinnaman (Robocop) due to filming conflicts. The last issue is Hardy's lips, let's just say I don't remember them resembling Wolverine's.
While it's nice to fantasize about our favorite choices becoming some of our favorite characters, it's more likely that the role will be cast by someone with who isn't a household name, and furthermore we might have never been exposed to before.
James McAvoy was cast as Professor X, but it wasn't until then that his name became a household name. He was great in "The Last King of Scotland" and "Atonement" but it wasn't until the mega-high profile X-Men franchise that launched him into super-stardom. I think it's going to be much harder to find an actor that fits the description of Wolverine than just about any other actor in the series and may just have to ignore the characters height from the comics in order to get a good performer for the role.