Hugh Jackman was warned 'X-Men' would damage his career.

The 49-year-old actor has portrayed the mutant Wolverine in nine movies over the last 17 years but he was advised to look for a new project quickly before the 2000 movie came out as casting directors would be reluctant to see him once they saw the film.

He said: ''I remember finishing the first movie, and a friend of mine, a player in Hollywood, he goes, 'Dude, I've heard not very good things about the movie; you really should book something else before it comes out.' There was about a four-month gap.

''He goes, 'Just make sure you've got something else because when it comes out, you're back down at the bottom of the pile again.' ''

Luckily for the Australian actor, his friend was wrong and Jackman thinks the dark prediction was because no one at the time had any idea how big comic book movies would become in Hollywood.

Speaking to Willem Dafoe for Variety's 'Actors on Actors', he said: ''[He's] still a friend. Happily, he was wrong. No one really knew. There was no comic-book genre; comic-book movies were really not around at the time. This was 2000.''

Jackman believes the gritty opening of 'X-Men' set the standard for comic book films, with Christopher Nolan's work with the Batman trilogy - which featured Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader - raising the bar even further.

He added: ''I think 'X-Men'' did a lot, particularly when it opened up in a concentration camp, and the idea that we were taking it seriously in terms of more humanistic rather than just superhuman.

''Then I think [Christopher] Nolan raised the bar ... and made people see beyond genre. It's not just a genre film. They've continued to really surprise and entertain and be very different.

''You have something like 'Deadpool' last year, 'Logan' ... I think studios are taking risks and doing different things. I have no idea how long it will last.''