Hugh Jackman Had An Embarrassing Audition With Sandra Bullock For Miss Congeniality

Hugh Jackman is perhaps best known for his iconic portrayal of Wolverine in the "X-Men" franchise, but few people know that he actually auditioned for a movie role alongside Sandra Bullock before debuting as a Marvel superhero. Jackman hit the big screen as a claw-wielding mutant in 2000, but he actually tried out for the comedy movie "Miss Congeniality" before the action movie premiered.

As Jackman told Variety, he originally opted for the audition under the encouragement of his agent, who wanted him to land the role as a negotiation tool for another movie. Because of this, Jackman found it all the more embarrassing when he failed to keep up with Bullock during the audition and ultimately lost out on the part.

The role of FBI Agent Eric Matthews ended up going to Benjamin Bratt, who's known for roles on TV shows like "Law and Order" and "Stars." Though we're sure this rejection stung at the time, Jackman's floundered audition with Bullock sure makes for a fun anecdote now that he's an established, award-winning actor.

Hugh Jackman couldn't keep up with Sandra Bullock

While Hugh Jackman's acting ability has been obvious in films such as "Les Misérables," which he starred in alongside his friend Anne Hathaway, and "Prisoners," the actor asserts that he's never been particularly good at auditions. This in part contributed to his embarrassing trial performance with the acclaimed actor Sandra Bullock, but he was also simply blown away by the talent she demonstrated when they read lines together.

Jackman explained to Variety that because "X-Men" hadn't hit theaters yet, he was essentially an unestablished film actor at the time. In contrast, Bullock had already made a name for herself through movies such as "Speed," "While You Were Sleeping," and "Hope Floats." "I was impressed that [Bullock] was in there. I didn't expect her to be in there. I'm guessing eight people she tested with," Jackman explained. During their read, he recalled thinking, "'Holy s***! She's amazing! And so quick and fast. I'm not even vaguely up to speed here.' I was pedaling as fast as I could, but I didn't know the script well enough."

Jackman admitted that he hadn't shared the story of his botched audition with Sandra Bullock prior to his interview with them, but we're glad the acclaimed actor can look lightheartedly back at the early blip in his career now that he has all these acting credits and awards under his belt.

The actor also had an unlikely X-Men audition

Hugh Jackman didn't expect to score a part in "Miss Congeniality" after his audition with Sandra Bullock, but he was arguably just as unlikely to land his legendary role in "X-Men." In a 2020 interview with Jimmy Fallon, the "Reminiscence" actor explains that his audition for the Marvel movie only lasted about twenty seconds. 

"When I walked into that room, I was pretty sure that I wasn't playing the role . . . It was a weird audition because Dougray Scott had the role, and then he got caught up on 'Mission: Impossible 2,' but everyone thought that would get sorted," Jackman recalled. "But the studio said, 'Look, we need a backup plan just in case.' So it was like this Hail Mary to begin with, which is probably the best way to do an audition."

On top of this, the "Logan" star also didn't have any knowledge about X-Men or even wolverines. As he told Howard Stern, "[I'd] never heard of X-Men. I didn't know there was an animal called a Wolverine. I thought it was like one of those 'Shazam' [things] — it's a made-up comic book animal or something." Looking back now, "Miss Congeniality" might've survived without Jackman, but we can't imagine anyone else playing the iconic Wolverine.