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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 21, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Hugh Jackman’s winding career track

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Photo: Markus Schreiber / AP
Yes, Wolverine’s on the way: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” opens everywhere next week, late-night on Thursday. And today, Hugh Jackman celebrates a milestone: he’s being honored with a “hand and footprint ceremony” at Hollywood’s fabled Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where generations of stars have left their mark. (The ornate theater, which opened in 1927, has a fascinating history; see here.)
Though Jackman is undeniably a superstar, he’s had some interesting career turns: The Hollywood Reporter notes today that he turned down “Chicago” (but why?), got turned down for James Bond (Daniel Craig was chosen instead), and, if he’d listened to his wife, wouldn’t have joined the “X-Men” cast at all — and even then only got the part because Dougray Scott, originally cast as Wolverine, had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. And though he’ s done fine work in little-seen films like “The Prestige,” “Scoop,” and “The Fountain,” his resume contains some turkeys, too, such as “Van Helsing” (which I can’t even think about without giggling) and “Deception.” Even “Australia,” which looked like it had all the right ingredients, faded quickly last fall. Though he’s found success on stage and on television, his screen fame seems tied to Wolverine — and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is the first of the X-Men films that requires him to carry it alone, without Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and the rest of the gang.
I loved the first two X-Men films, but was iffy on the third one. “Wolverine,” directed by Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi”), seems like a wildcard; has this franchise already run its course, or can Jackman support a film on his brawny shoulders? Stay tuned.

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