Viggo Mortensen turned down Wolverine after his son said the 'X-Men' script was 'wrong'

·3 min read
Aragorn Wolverine
Viggo Mortensen played Aragorn but turned down Wolverine, a role eventually filled by Hugh Jackman. New Line Cinema/20th Century Fox
  • Viggo Mortensen turned down Wolverine in "X-Men" because he didn't want to commit to one role for years.

  • Mortensen brought his son Henry to a meeting, and Henry said the movie was "wrong."

  • Hugh Jackman ended up playing Wolverine in 10 movies across 17 years.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Viggo Mortensen said he turned down the role of Wolverine because he didn't want to commit to the same role for years, while his son said the "X-Men" script was "wrong."

Mortensen, who played Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, was speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast about his directorial debut, "Falling," which he also stars in. Mortensen has spoken about why he turned down the role before, but not to the extent he explained himself on this podcast.

Mortensen said: "The thing that bothered me at the time was just the commitment of endless movies of that same character over and over. I was nervous about that."

It wasn't just that, however. Mortensen let his comic book-obsessed son, Henry, read the script of "X-Men," written by David Hayter. Mortensen even took Henry, who was around 10 years old at the time, with him to a meeting with the movie's director, Bryan Singer. And Henry wasn't impressed.

"I did take Henry to the meeting I had with the director as my sort of good luck charm and guide. In the back of my mind, I was thinking he could learn something too, because I did let Henry read the script and he goes: 'This is wrong, that's not how it is,'" Mortensen said.

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen. Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Mortensen said that his son told Singer that Wolverine didn't look the way he was being depicted for the movie, which sent Singer into hysterics.

"The rest of the meeting was him explaining in detail to Henry why he was taking certain liberties. We walked out of there, and Henry asks if he will change the things he told him about, and I say, 'I don't think so,'" Mortensen said.

Ultimately, however, Mortensen couldn't get on board with the idea of playing the same role "for years," so turned down the iconic role of Wolverine. That role eventually went to Hugh Jackman, whose career has largely been defined by the comic book role. In total, Jackman played the gruff superhero in 10 movies (including cameos) across 17 years - exactly the sort of commitment Mortensen wanted to avoid.

Mortensen did, however, sign on to play Aragon in "The Lord of the Rings" shortly after he turned down Wolverine. Peter Jackson's trilogy was a big commitment in itself, too. The three movies were shot back-to-back between October 1999 and December 2000 - meaning Mortensen was shooting the role of Aragorn for nine months.

Jackman starred with Mortensen's costar Ian McKellen, who starred in both franchises: Magneto in "X-Men" and Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings."

It's rumoured that the MCU may start to introduce the X-Men into their movies and TV shows. A character from the "X-Men" movies even appeared in the MCU Disney Plus show "WandaVision," and plenty of theories are now circulating around that show about its possible connections to the X-Men. That means that Wolverine will likely be recast, but it remains to be seen who could fill the shoes of Jackman.

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