Hugh Jackman Recalls Bombing His ‘Miss Congeniality’ Audition Opposite ‘Amazing’ Sandra Bullock

The X-Men actor auditioned for the 2000 romantic comedy, but the part ultimately went to Benjamin Bratt

Hugh Jackman almost joined Miss Congeniality as the romantic lead.

Speaking with Variety, he revealed that he auditioned for the role of FBI agent Eric Matthews in Miss Congeniality, opposite Sandra Bullock’s memorable agent-undercover Gracie Hart.

The actor, 54, said he didn’t really want to star in the movie, but his agent asked him to go for it so they could negotiate another role.

“No one knew X-Men yet,” Jackman said. “I was a nobody.”

So he went in to read with Bullock, now 58, and confessed it didn’t go very well. For one, he said, it was his first time testing with another actor. “I was impressed that she was in there. I didn’t expect her to be in there. I’m guessing eight people she tested with.”

By the time they started reading, Jackman said he was amazed.

“‘Holy s—! She’s amazing! And so quick and fast. I’m not even vaguely up to speed here,’ ” he recalled thinking of Bullock. “I was pedaling as fast as I could, but I didn’t know the script well enough.”

He didn’t get the role, which went to Benjamin Bratt, and said it ended up being an embarrᴀssing moment in his career.

“That’s humiliating, when your agent says, ‘I don’t want you to get this job, but just go get it.’ And then you don’t get it,” Jackman said.

Miss Congeniality and X-Men both came out in 2000. Jackman went on to play Wolverine in the successful X-Men franchise, and he will be reprising the role in the upcoming third ᴅᴇᴀᴅpool.

In September, Jackman and Ryan Reynolds announced the news. Speaking with PEOPLE Tuesday, Jackman confirmed his part will be much larger than a cameo.

“I think being on set with [Ryan] every day and those two on film in every city together every day … I think it’s fair to say they’ll be punching the s— out of each other the whole time,” Jackman said.

“All jokes aside, I’ll probably have more fun on this movie than any other I’ve ever done,” he adds.

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