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Credit: 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman says comic books were 'contraband' on set of the first X-Men

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Nov 24, 2018, 12:27 PM EST

The first X-Men movie from director Bryan Singer was released on July 14, 2000 and really opened people's eyes to what a comic book adaptation could really be. A movie about superheroes could be dark and grounded, while still paying homage to the printed word and inked images of a classic comic book. 

To impress this upon his cast, Singer did not allow the actors to read comic books while on set. Hugh Jackman, whose acting career exploded after his turn as Wolverine (James Howlett, aka "Logan") in the first film, talked about this during an interview with MTV's Josh Horowitz. 

“Comic books were banned on the set," he said. "Bryan Singer had this thing ... he really wanted to take comic book characters seriously, as real three-dimensional characters. And he said, 'people who don’t understand these comics might think they’re two-dimensional,' so no one was allowed [comic books]. It was like contraband. I’d never read X-Men, so people were slipping [them] under my door. I’m reading these things, I’m looking at them going, ‘these are brilliant, look at the physicality’."

Jackman also touched upon the fact that Kevin Feige (now head of Marvel Studios) was there from the very first days of the initial X-Men movie, which became Feige's first-ever producing credit, courtesy of his extensive Marvel knowledge.

At the time, he was working as an assitant to Richard Donner and his wife, Lauren Shuler Donner. Feige was then promoted to serve as the first mate of Avi Arad, the man who had helmed Marvel Studios (formerly known as Marvel Films) since the early 1990s. 

"I would go into Kevin Feige's office," Jackman continued, talking about how he was able to circumvent Singer's comic book ban. "It was wall-to-wall, not only comics, but posters [and] about 600 figurines of different characters. I'd be like, [in an undertone] 'What should I read?' He goes, 'You gotta read this one ... you gotta read the origins,' so he was slipping me stuff and we've stayed friends ever since."