Cats or Wolverines? The feature adaptation of the feline Broadway hit already had an impressive (perhaps baffling) number of all-stars among its catty cast — including the likes of Idris Elba, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen — but it may come as news to fans that the latter was almost joined by one of his X-Men co-stars during the musical mishmash: Hugh Jackman. The longtime Wolverine portrayer had a previous relationship with director Tom Hooper, who helmed Jackman's turn in Les Misérables. That and Jackman's extensive musical theater background meant that when it was time to find the furries, Jackman's name was probably on the list.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Jackman confirmed this hunch. He was in fact asked by Hooper to be in Cats and he indeed said he couldn't. When asked directly if he turned the role down, Jackman said, "Um...yep." Gotta love the berevity. When pressed, the actor explained.
"You know, Tom rang me early on because we did Les Mis together, and there were a couple of options [for roles] there based on availability and time, and I really… yeah, I just wasn’t available at the time," Jackman said. A lucky break, considering how fans and critics alike responded to the magical mania of the feline feature. But Jackman's throwing no stones.
"I’m in the theater, man, and I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people — or jumping on bandwagons," he said. "I haven’t seen it, and Tom Hooper’s one of the great filmmakers we have."
A truly polite man. And a true shame that Cats didn't feature a mutton-chopped, musclebound hero whose claws were metal and who sang around the cigar in his mouth. It wouldn't have even made the movie that much crazier. Ah well, maybe for the sequel?