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Viggo Mortensen on turning down Wolverine role: Didn’t want to be doing this for years

Actor Viggo Mortensen has reflected on passing over the role of Wolverine, which went on to be played by Hugh Jackman.

By: PTI | Los Angeles |
February 10, 2021 7:19:55 pm
Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen went on to star in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Photo: AP)

Oscar-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen has reflected on passing over the role of the fan-favourite mutant Wolverine in the X-Men series, saying he wasn’t ready to commit to playing the same character for years and years.

The 62-year-old actor also recalled that his son, Henry, who was around 10 then, had read the script of 2000’s “X-Men”, the first in the long-running comic book adaptations, and found it to be “wrong”.

“The thing that bothered me at the time was just the commitment of endless movies of that same character over and over. I was nervous about that.

“And also there were some things — I mean, they straightened most of them out, but I did take Henry to the meeting I had with the director as my sort of good luck charm and guide. In the back of my mind, I was thinking he could learn something, too, because I did let Henry read the script and he goes, ‘This is wrong. That’s not how it is’,” Mortensen told Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

Hugh Jackman eventually played the part from 2000 to 2018 in the film series.

In an early meeting, the actor said, X-Men director Bryan Singer, apparently asked Henry if he was familiar with Wolverine in the Marvel Comics.

According to Mortensen, Henry replied, “Yeah, but he doesn’t look like this.”

“All of a sudden, the director is falling all over himself and then the rest of the meeting was him explaining in detail to Henry why he was taking certain liberties,” the actor added.

The irony of playing the same character over the years wasn’t lost on Mortensen, who later went on to star in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“We walked out of there, and Henry asks if he will change the things he told him about, and I say, ‘I don’t think so. I’m not going to do it anyway, because I’m not sure I want to be doing this for years.’ And then, a couple of years later, I’m doing three ‘Lord of the Rings’, so who knows,” he said.

Mortensen played Aragorn, one of the main protagonists in the trilogy — The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003), based on JRR Tolkien’s book.

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