Charlize Theron turned down the chance to play mutant superhero Jean Grey in X-Men.
The film’s executive producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, along with screenwriter David Hayter, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the hit 2000 movie in an interview with Observer, and revealed a few secrets from behind the scenes.
While Russell Crowe famously turned down the role of Wolverine, leading to Hugh Jackman landing the coveted gig instead, Hayter revealed that not only did Oscar winner Theron decline a part in the flick, but Patrick Stewart was also in doubt.
Recalling how he and director Bryan Singer flew out to Vancouver in Canada to offer the Monster star the role of Jean Grey, which she ultimately passed on, Hayter said that Stewart, who portrayed wheelchair-bound Professor Charles Xavier, was also reluctant to sign on.
“Patrick Stewart didn’t want to. It took a long time to convince him,” he shared. “Terence Stamp told me, ‘You know why Patrick doesn’t want to do it? Because of the chair. He doesn’t want to be stuck in the chair. But I don’t mind. In fact, I also look excellent bald.'”
There was also plenty of interest from celebrities who wanted to be involved in the film.
“I have lots of warm memories of people that came in wanting to be in the movie,” Winter recalled. “Michael Jackson was a big comic fan and wanted to play Charles Xavier. Shaquille O’Neal showed up at the offices and wanted to play Forge, who wasn’t in the movie.”
“Everyday I was surprised by the faces coming in. Like, I’d find Mariah Carey sitting in my office wanting to go talk to Bryan about being Storm or something. So that’s always shocking,” Hayter added.
Famke Janssen eventually landed the part of Jean Grey and went on to play the telepathic and telekinetic mutant in four X-Men movies and 2013’s The Wolverine.
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