Hugh Jackman Recalls Bombing His 'Miss Congeniality' Audition With Sandra Bullock

Hugh Jackman almost starred in Miss Congeniality alongside Sandra Bullock if it wasn't for a "humiliating" audition gone wrong. Sharing the story publicly for the first time with Variety, the Wolverine actor revealed he had auditioned for the role of FBI agent Eric Matthews in the 2000 film, who plays opposite of Bullock's undercover agent, Gracie Hart.

Jackman revealed that while he didn't particularly want to be in the movie, his agent asked him to go for it so they could negotiate another role. "No one knew X-Men yet," Jackman said of his status in Hollywood at the time. "I was a nobody." But when he went in for a reading alongside Bullock, Jackman admitted he fell short anyways. "'Holy s-! She's amazing! And so quick and fast. I'm not even vaguely up to speed here,'" he recalled thinking of the actress. "I was pedaling as fast as I could, but I didn't know the script well enough."

Ultimately, Jackman didn't get the role, which was played by Benjamin Bratt, and the moment ended up being one of the most embarrassing of his career. "That's humiliating, when your agent says, 'I don't want you to get this job, but just go get it.' And then you don't get it," Jackman said, revealing, "I have not told that story by the way," until now.

Jackman would go on to play Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, which skyrocketed him into the spotlight. The actor, who is currently on Broadway with The Music Man, is now preparing physically to reprise his role as the comic book hero in the upcoming third Deadpool movie opposite Ryan Reynolds. "A little part of me now thinks I'd be better at it," Jackman told Variety about returning to the iconic role. "Is that arrogance of age or something? Wolverine's a tortured character – more tortured than me. But I always get the feeling of him being comfortable in his own skin. And I feel more comfortable in my own skin now, even though it's messier."

Jackman previously declared during the Logan press cycle that he would be retiring from playing Wolverine, but revealed that a screening of Deadpool in 2016 changed his mind. "I went to a screening of Deadpool. I was 20 minutes in, and I was like, 'Ah, damn it!'" Jackman said. "All I kept seeing in my head was 48 Hrs. with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. So it's been brewing for a long time. It just took me longer to get here."