Hugh Jackman gave up Bond role for ‘The Greatest Showman’

The actor was once asked if he was interested in portraying the suave spy but declined the opportunity to see if he could’ve landed the part.

Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum in ‘The Greatest Showman’ movie. Picture: @greatestshowman/Instagram

LONDON - Hugh Jackman gave up the chance to play James Bond to star in The Greatest Showman.

The 49-year-old actor was once asked if he was interested in portraying the suave spy but declined the opportunity to see if he could’ve landed the part because he was “worried” about being typecast.

Speaking about the possibility of playing 007, he said: “I wasn’t handed it. I think it was, ‘Are you interested?’.

“Weirdly, at drama school, we’d all kind of muck around and voted on what each other would most likely be if they made it to Hollywood and everyone voted me as a Bond.

“Wolverine has been the greatest gift of my career, but it’s been a little surprising to me how long I’ve done it, how many movies, how successful it is and at a certain point how known for that role I was becoming.

“I always wanted to do different things. I wanted to do musicals, I wanted to do Shakespeare and theatre and dramas like Prisoners.

“I just thought the practicality of doing those two behemoths would mean not just that I wouldn’t have the opportunity, but I worried that it would be sending a message to the business like that’s what I want to do, I want to be known for.”

The Greatest Showman sees Hugh portray PT Barnum, who started a legendary circus in the 1860s, and the Hollywood star has recalled going against doctor’s orders to sing at his audition - just a day after he underwent a skin cancer operation on his nose.

He said: “I thought there’s about a one in 10 chance this movie happens. But we’re going for it.

“My doctor had said, ‘Do not sing, you’ve just had 80 stitches in your nose. They really could split apart, you could get an infection’, which I’d had before in a similar operation.

“So, I was like, ‘Don’t worry I’m not going to risk that, I’m just going to speak it and someone else will sing it’.

“But the emotion of the song and the moment took over me.”

While Hugh has had a busy year - which also saw him reprise his longstanding role of Wolverine in Logan - he is going to relax over the festive period in his native Australia because he is technically “unemployed”.

He added to The Sun newspaper: “I’m unemployed right now. My wife loves that I’m unemployed right now but talk to us in about a month.

“I am happy to say I don’t know what’s next. I’m kind of deliberately creating a little bit of a vacuum in order to just find the next thing.

“I’m back to Oz for Christmas and then I don’t know what’s next - unique, surreal, I’ll admit at times a little frightening, but 90% exciting.”