Kodi Smit-McPhee on his Nightcrawler audition and how he almost played Wolverine

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May 14, 2015, 3:51 PM EDT

X-Men: Apocalypse co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee is busy promoting his new film Slow West (which stars fellow X-Man Michael Fassbender) these days. Apocalypse is a huge movie, though, and he's the first movie Nightcrawler since Alan Cumming originated the role 12 years ago in X2: X-Men United, so it makes sense that interviewers want to ask him about his time as a mutant. 

In a new interview at Comic Book Resources, Smit-McPhee talked quite a bit about his preparation for Nightcrawler, his audition and the time he was almost Wolverine. Apparently, when he tried out for the Nightcrawler role, he didn't actually read something from the Apocalypse script (which wasn't done yet). Instead, he did one of Cumming's scenes from X2

"They got me to do – which I really liked – one of Alan Cumming’s scenes, where he was explaining the scars on his body were from archangel Gabriel," Smit-McPhee said. "And they just had me do it in the accent. So I think that was really smart. I didn’t know if it was going to be in the actual movie, as like a moment rebooted. But it wasn’t."

Though he said he's only read the script once at this point, Smit-McPhee seems to be taking a deep dive into the history of his character, researching everything from Cumming's portrayal to basically any stories featuring Nightcrawler he can get his hands on.

"Seeing as this is something so different, I’m kind of researching everything from when Nightcrawler himself was created as a character," he said. "So seeing everyone’s take on it, what people have liked to keep about him, and then what they’ve liked to take away from him. I’ve followed his journey of evolution and the kind of story that’s evolved for him now, which is running away from the suffering that’s being in the circus and his freakish looks, and finding God, and faith. Those are all things that I relate to as a person. So I’m doing so much research definitely — on Alan Cumming’s take, on the comic books, on even the cartoons. I love the cartoon — I forget what it’s called, but it’s a really nostalgic old -school one. So cool, I’m just watching all the episodes, soaking it all up. It’s all out there."

So, for the moment, it definitely sounds like Nightcrawler is in the hands of an actor who has a very healthy respect for the character's history and impact, and it'll be interesting to see which pieces of all this research actually make it into the final film. Apparently, though, Smit-McPhee almost accidentally doomed his chances of playing Nightcrawler years ago, when he was cast as a young version of Wolverine for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and then declined the part to go work on The Road.

"I actually at the start of my career got [cast as] a young Wolverine. And then I was like, 'No, I have to do The Road.' So this is really meant to be," he said. 

To check out the rest of the interview, including Smit-McPhee's story about the first time he was able to read the Apocalypse script, click HERE

(Via CBR)