Stephen Merchant was surprised when he didn’t get asked to bulk up for his role in new Wolverine movie Logan and was not happy when he had to shave his hair and eyebrows off.
The 41-year-old British actor plays Caliban opposite Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the third standalone movie about the metal-clawed superhero and X-Men member and as it is an action film he expected to have to get in top shape for the part.
However, Merchant was told his thin frame was what 20th Century Fox was looking for and to stay the same, just lose all of his hair.
In an interview on ‘The Jonathan Ross Show’, he said: “I play a giant albino mutant, it’s type casting. I had to shave my head for the role. To be honest there aren’t a lot of pale-faced, stick thin men in Hollywood so it was either me or they would have done CGI!”
Speaking about shaving his hair and eyebrows off, he added: “It was annoying when I was doing it, I kept asking the producers if I could go out into the real world just for fun, just to go into an old people’s home with a scythe and just point … When they said I was going to be in it I thought I was going to be an X Man. I was like ‘Do you need me down the gym? What time do you need me there?’ They were like, ‘We just need you in the barbers at nine.'”
Caliban’s special power is that he can sense and track other mutants. Merchant believes his less than exciting ability and strange appearance means the toy that is going to be made of the character is heading to the bargain bin.
He said: “I play a character called Caliban whose mutant power is that I can locate other mutants. I’m basically a glorified truffle pig. It’s the action figure that isn’t going to sell great.”
Merchant and Jackman also star in the movie – based on the Marvel comic book characters – alongside Sir Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Richard E. Grant as Zander Rice and Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce.