Hugh Jackman’s relationship with Wolverine lasted 17 years and nine films (a run that concluded with 2017’s Logan), but once upon a time he had no idea his character was based on a real animal.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Jackman admitted that when he first got the role he thought his character was just a play on a wolf.

“I didn’t even know there was a wolverine. I literally, embarrassingly did about two weeks of research on wolves. I was rehearsing for three weeks and I was shooting, so I was kind of on my own. I remember going past an IMAX in Toronto, and there was an IMAX documentary about wolves, and so I thought, ‘I’ll go and see that,’” Jackman said Wednesday.

So when Jackman showed up on set for the first X-Men movie in 2000, he based his character’s movements on wolves, which unbeknownst to him did not fit with Wolverine at all. Director Bryan Singer noticed something was off.

“He said, ‘Are you sort of walking funny, what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I’ve been doing this thing with wolves,’ and he goes, ‘You know you’re not a wolf, right?’” Jackman recalled.

The actor was gently told he was to portray a wolverine, not a wolf. “I said, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as a wolverine,’” Jackman said. Singer responded: “‘Go to the zoo, dude.’ I literally didn’t know it existed,” Jackman said.

To be fair, wolverines are native to only the Northern Hemisphere, and Jackman is from Australia. So he never would have had a chance to see one outside of a zoo growing up.

After nine films, Jackman must be an expert on the large weasel by now.

[Associated Press/Photo: Marvel]

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.