I, like so many other Wolverine fans, first watched the footage years ago. Yet now, as Hugh Jackman exits the role with Logan, the video takes on an added poignancy.

The 11-minute clip, uploaded in 2009 - the same year X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released - is titled simply: "Hugh Jackman auditions for the part of Wolverine in X-men."

And it provides a fascinating glimpse into the young actor's process and early camera presence.

Jackman was a virtual unknown, newly in his 30s, when he was flown to Toronto to read for the role that would radically alter his career trajectory.


As most X-Men fans know, Dougray Scott had been cast to play Wolverine in director Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000), but the actor had to back out after being injured during the filming of Mission: Impossible II.

(The latter would easily beat Singer's film at that year's box office, but the X-franchise was just getting warmed up.)

At the time the global casting call went out for Wolverine, Jackman was playing Curly in a London production of Oklahoma! One of the striking aspects of Jackman's X-audition is how much he has to dial down the delivery compared with how Curly is played on stage.

What's immediately evident in the video - in which Jackman is reading with the off-camera Singer - is how watchable the actor is, given his easy physicality and quietly commanding presence.

Actor Hugh Jackman arrives at the screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Photo / Getty
Actor Hugh Jackman arrives at the screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Photo / Getty

His ability to pivot quickly from tenderness to ferocity is clearly on display (such as near the 4-minute mark).

Jackman was a long way from inhabiting the role, but you can also see how malleable his acting muscles were by this point in his career. His ability to take direction quickly surely registered as a strong positive with the X-Men filmmakers, including screenwriter David Hayter.

Of course, even they surely couldn't have known the degree to which Jackman would embody Wolverine for 17 years - longer than any other actor and big-screen superhero - and become the most consistently crucial element in the franchise.