Video of the actor’s initial audition survives online, revealing his reading of scenes involving Rogue (played by Anna Paquin) in Bryan Singer’s superhero film, released in 2000. Some of the darker lines he recites weren’t in the movie, like, “I can’t even show you the scars from all the times I’ve tried to kill myself because they just disappear.” But, then again, Jackman almost wasn’t in the movie, either.
As he recalled to Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE editorial director Jess Cagle in 2013, “I have to hand it off to a great Hollywood producer, Lauren Schuler Donner.” He explained, “Dougray Scott was gonna play the role and was slated to play the role, but was kept on Mission: Impossible 2, so they had to find someone else and she sort of said, ‘I remember seeing this weird sort of Southern cowboy, permed guy. Sounded a little Australian to me. I think he’s our man.'”
Jackman auditioned for X-Men in between his performance of the stage production Oklahoma, in which he played Curly. “I’ll never forget my audition,” he told Cagle. “It was on a Wednesday in between the matinee and the evening performance and I ran offstage, I whipped off the leather chaps from Curly and I bolted into SoHo and I put down a tape, and I was a little grumpy at the time which probably helped me.”
And the rest is just Days of Future Past. Watch Jackman’s audition video above.