Hugh Jackman admitted that he confused wolverines with wolves when he initially got the part of Wolverine for 2000's X-Men because he wasn't aware wolverines were real animals.
In an interview on Late Night with Stephen Colbert to promote his latest film, The Front Runner, Jackman admitted his original ignorance. "Embarrassingly, I didn't know what a wolverine was.... And I presumed it was a made-up name for the comic book," he said. "I'd never read an X-Men comic. I'd never seen a wolverine... So I presumed it was a wolf."
Jackman goes on to describe the three weeks of preparation he put in for playing Wolverine as a wolf, including watching an IMAX documentary about wolves -- twice.
Then, while trying to channel a wolf while rehearsing a fight scene, the confused director asked him what he was doing.
When Jackman explained he had researched wolves, the director set him straight — a wolf and a wolverine aren't the same animal, and he was playing a character based on a wolverine. Jackman pushed back with his belief that wolverines aren't real, only to be corrected by the surprised director.
Despite the humiliating start, Jackman went on to play Wolverine many times between 2000 and 2017, ending with the critically acclaimed and fan-beloved Logan. So as Colbert observed, "It all worked out."