Early in his career before X-Men, Hugh Jackman tanked an audition for Miss Congeniality. The Australian actor is best known for his breakthrough role as Wolverine in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men film series. After 17 years and nine movies, it was believed that his long portrayal of the Mutant had come to an end in 2017’s Logan, though it was recently announced that Jackman will return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3 alongside Ryan Reynolds which will be an R-rated film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Like any great actor, there are a lot of roles that Jackman either turned down or missed out on during his long career, a major one being James Bond in Casino Royale. Another notable role he missed out on came in the 2000 romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, Miss Congeniality. The film follows the Academy Award-winning actress as Gracie Hart, a tomboy FBI agent who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant to thwart a terrorist plot at the Miss United States event. Other than Bullock, Miss Congeniality stars Benjamin Bratt as Gracie’s partner and love interest, FBI Agent Eric Matthews, alongside Michael Caine, Candice Bergen, William Shatner, and Ernie Hudson in supporting roles.
During a recent profile by Variety, Jackman reflected on some of the roles he missed out on early in his career, including Miss Congeniality. The actor recalls not wanting the part, though his agent put him up for it to use as leverage for another movie he was offered, Someone Like You with Ashley Judd. Jackman still had to go through with the audition for Miss Congeniality across from Bullock, which he tanked. Read how Jackman described the failed audition below:
No one knew X-Men yet. I was a nobody… [I remember thinking] « Holy shit! She’s amazing! And so quick and fast. I’m not even vaguely up to speed here. » I was pedaling as fast as I could, but I didn’t know the script well enough… That’s humiliating, when your agent says, « I don’t want you to get this job, but just go get it. » And then you don’t get it.
Early in his career, Jackman was mostly known for his theater roles, though he was beginning to branch out into television and film, mostly romantic comedies like Kate & Leopold and the aforementioned Someone Like You. That all changed when he was cast as Wolverine in X-Men. The breakthrough role not only showed off Jackman’s acting ability on a bigger stage, but awarded him other opportunities in movies like Van Helsing, Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, and many more.
Before Jackman’s big break, he was mostly an unknown entity, so it’s understandable he was a little intimidated and tanked the audition for Miss Congeniality across an incredible talent like Bullock. However, everything worked out for the best despite some minor humiliation for Jackman who didn’t want the part anyway that eventually went to Benjamin Bratt, whose performance was somewhat memorable in the box office hit. Jackman’s career didn’t stall in the slightest as a result of the failed Miss Congeniality audition either, as he would soon blow up for X-Men.