The Real Reason Hugh Jackman Refused An Iconic Ryan Gosling Role

It's not uncommon in Hollywood for actors to drop out of roles while a film or television series is stuck in development purgatory. Shooting locations change, availability becomes less flexible, and on occasion, actors will drop out of a project if they don't want to work with a specific director or co-star. One such situation occurred back in 2010 when it was announced that Hugh Jackman was being replaced by Ryan Gosling in the movie "Drive" ahead of its 2011 premiere (via ET Online).

Jackman had been attached to the film since 2008 along with director Neil Marshall (via Screen Rant). Fast forward to 2010 when "Drive" switched directors, with Nicolas Winding Refn taking over for Marshall in a move that was apparently facilitated by Gosling. Not much information is available in regards to why Marshall left the project, but Refn said in an interview with the Washington Post that Gosling read the script in 2009 and asked if Refn was interested in directing, and he was.

So, how did the movie change not only directors, but also the lead actor, in the span of two years?

Hugh refused an iconic Ryan role for this reason

It seemed as though Hugh Jackman was committed to playing the protagonist in the 2011 film "Drive" as he spent time developing the concept before it reached the production stage (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

When it was announced that Ryan Gosling was stepping in, fans were confused as to what prompted this casting change as Jackman hadn't officially commented on his decision to back out of the role (via Screen Rant). Though neither Jackman nor Gosling publicly addressed what happened, The Hollywood Reporter speculated on what might have prompted the Aussie actor to exit the project.

Apparently, Jackman wanted to work on the film alongside original director Neil Marshall, so when Marshall backed out for unknown reasons, Jackman didn't want to stay on either. The Hollywood Reporter alleges that Jackman was unsure of working with new director Nicolas Winding Refn, but the timeline doesn't match up if Refn claims he was brought onto the film by Gosling. Regardless of what happened, it doesn't appear as though there were any hard feelings, as Jackman is thanked in the credits for the movie (per Reddit).