In Australia, he was already the golden boy of the cinema and small screen. But it wasn’t until he landed the role of Wolverine that Hugh Jackman became a household name and was catapulted into mega-stardom that exceeded all expectation, leaving a trail of claw-wielding fans in his wake.
We’ve since learned that the iconic role almost wasn’t Jackman’s to begin with. Originally, producers approached Dougray Scott to play the legendary beast but (thankfully) Scott dropped out to do Mission: Impossible 2. Add to that the fact that Jackman was almost sacked on the first film after admitting that “things weren’t really working out as they hoped”, and it’s a wonder that Jackman ended up not only securing the role, but going on to play the character for 18 years.
Of course, now we can say with certainty that we can’t imagine the role being played by anyone but Jackman. Not surprisingly, Jackman holds the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia just days ago.
All of this is to say that in his 20-year career, Jackman has clawed together an astounding fortune. As Men’s Health reports, the actor’s net worth is an estimated $US150 million (approx. $220 million AUD) with the majority of that income stemming from his work as Wolverine.
Jackman first played the character in 2000’s X-Men, in which he earned about $US500,000. The success of the film and, most notably, Jackman’s portrayal, meant that his rate quickly increased and by the time 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine hit cinemas, Jackman was earning $20 million for the part. According to some outlets however, Jackman earned near to $100 million for playing the character, considering upfront salary, promotional payments, as well as press appearances.
While it would be easy to give Jackman’s career a cursory glance and deem it nothing more than a single successful role, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Jackman’s talents as a dancer, multi-instrumentalist and actor have led him to many a successful film, including Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, Les Miserables, Logan, and more recently, The Greatest Showman, which went on to gross over $430 million worldwide.
In 2014, Jackman was listed on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, followed by Time’s 100 Most Influential List in 2018. But rather than rest on his acting chops alone, Jackman has made a name for himself not just for being the Hollywood nice guy who counts Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as close friends, but being an incredibly charitable human. He’s a global advisor of the Global Poverty Project, serves as an ambassador for World Vision, and even launched the Laughing Man Coffee company in 2011, where all profits from the company go to the Laughing Man Foundation – supporting educational programs, community development, and social entrepreneurs around the world.
Basically, there’s nothing Hugh Jackman can’t go. He’s got the acting talent to rival Hollywood’s biggest stars, but in an industry that seems preoccupied with the superficial and superfluous accoutrements of fame, Jackman is looking outward – to the communities in need of help. Yes, his net worth might be staggering. But it’s what he’s doing with his earnings that counts.