Hugh Jackman has always been a fairly buff guy, and before his breakout in 2000’s “X-Men” was known for his fit physique in Australian works like the TV series “Fire,” films like “Paperback Hero” and stage productions like playing Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast”.
When he took on the Wolverine though, his physique began to change with the actor getting buffer and seemingly more muscular with almost every outing in the role to the point that his body in the original “X-Men” vs. that in a film like “The Wolverine” is undeniably very different.
To do that takes many, many long hours of training. Over the years, there has been speculation the actor took some chemical assistance (i.e. steroids) to help the process. Appeaing on CNN series “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace”, Jackman denies any such claims.
He goes on to say he never once took steroids to get his body right for the role and that, aware of the nasty side effects that come with steroid usage – especially in the long term – he says he didn’t love playing Wolverine enough to go down that road:
“No, I love my job. And I love Wolverine. I got to be careful what I say here, but I had been told anecdotally what the side effects are of that. And I was like, ‘I don’t love it that much.’ So no, I just did it the old-school way.
And I tell you, I’ve eaten more chickens – I’m so sorry to all the vegans and vegetarians and to the chickens of the world. Literally, the karma is not good for me. If the deity has anything related to chickens, I’m in trouble.”
Jackman famously got hired to do the role after production had begun, and Dougray Scott had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict. He spoke about how ill-prepared he was, to the point he thought Wolverine was actually part wolf:
“I had never read the comic book. I got the part. I didn’t really know anything about… I didn’t, in Australia we don’t have wolverines. I didn’t know that was a real animal. I’d never heard of a wolverine. I thought it was a made-up animal. You know, like, he’s got man hands of steel, made up.
And so I was passing as I was doing rehearsal at the Imax, they had this documentary about wolves. And I was like, perfect, because obviously I’m a wolf, part wolf. So I went [to set] with all these wolf moves and I was doing these moves, and the director said, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Well, I was just thinking wolves are always looking like this because they’re actually smelling, they’ve got their nose to the ground. That’s why they’re looking like this all the time.’ And he goes, ‘What do you mean a wolf?’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, Wolverine – I’m part wolf so…’ and he goes, ‘No, you’re a wolverine.’”
Jackman recently said he has begun six months of training work to get back into Wolverine shape again for the upcoming third “Deadpool” feature, which is expected to begin shooting around May.