The Hugh Jackman Fame Audit
His early years of big fame also featured fairly high-profile projects that received lukewarm-at-best receptions. Consider Swordfish. Just a hint, Hugh, in case John Travolta ever invites you to lunch again: Say no. You will likely wind up involved in some kind of stealth Scientology parable, and even if you don't, Travolta started picking scenery out of his teeth somewhere around Face/Off and recently experimented with drag, so...you be the judge. And let us not forget Van Helsing, a movie in which he was saddled for some reason with what appeared to be Katie Holmes's hair. It's hard to believe he had enough of battling bad guys with CGI-assisted weapons in the X-Men movies, so thinking twice before getting into that spectacle (or at least reading the script) might have paid off.
It's very strange, but it seems like for all his talent and his impressive arsenal of artistic and charismatic weapons, nobody has figured out yet quite what to do with the guy for mainstream audiences, other than Wolverine. There's talk that he may star as Billy Bigelow -- one of Broadway's meatiest, richest, most tragic roles -- in a new movie version of Carousel, which he performed at Carnegie Hall with Private Practice's also awesome, also wasted-on-series-television Audra McDonald a few years back. This causes pittypats in the hearts of those who loved him in Oklahoma!, of course, and it could potentially be a terrific project for him -- many of us would overlook his being a trifle old for it in return for the privilege of forgetting Gordon MacRae's so-so screen work in yet another American classic. But in terms of conventional projects, the guy has a hard time finding the right fit. Maybe he doesn't care -- undoubtedly, Wolverine has given him all the money he could spend in three lifetimes, so maybe all he wants is to follow his bliss.