Why Crowe turned down Wolverine

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Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman. Photos / Getty

By Bronte Coy

Hugh Jackman has Russell Crowe to thank for all of his Wolverine spoils.

Thanks to The Mummy actor turning down the lead role, Jackman was called in to play the mutant superhero in the X-Men franchise.

And while co-hosting on Nova's Fitzy and Wippa today, Crowe finally revealed why he made that fateful decision.

"Bryan [Singer, X-Men director] was a friend at the time and he was really putting the pressure on," the star admitted.

But Crowe said his Gladiator character's association with wolves turned him off the idea.

"If you remember, Maximus has a wolf at the centre of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion ... which I thought was going to be a bigger deal [at the time]," he explained.

"So I said no, because I didn't want to be 'wolfy', like 'Mr Wolf'."

Continued below.

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While Singer was initially disappointed, he came around to the actor's recommendation of Hugh Jackman for the role.

But it turned out the whole drama was over nothing - most of Crowe's symbolic 'wolf moments' in Gladiator were left on the cutting room floor.

"When Ridley [Scott, director] was cutting the movie, it was inconvenient to keep the dog alive - so the whole wolf thing, no one ever mentions it!"

One person who's not disappointed with how things turned out is Jackman - who credits Crowe with helping shape his career.

"Russell (Crowe) has given me advice several times at key moments in my life," the star told EW in 2012.

"I owe him because two of the biggest roles I've ever had in my life, he turned down - and suggested me for them. On X-Men, he was Bryan Singer's first choice for Wolverine, and he mentioned me also for (Baz Luhrmann's) Australia. He really is incredibly smart, and generous."

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