X-Men hunk Hugh Jackman turned down the chance of a lifetime to appear as BILLY FLYNN in the hit musical CHICAGO - because he deemed himself too young to take on the role.

The 34-year-old Australian actor's rejection became 53-year-old RICHARD GERE's success, after he took on the role and went on to win a Golden Globe award - but Jackman still believes he made the right choice.

He says, "I thought I was too young for the role. You have some 34-year-old guy up against Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger and it becomes a different movie.

"At one point HARVEY (WEINSTEIN) was telling me they were thinking of Kevin Spacey, and I told him, 'That's exactly right. You should hire him.'

"Then I was in New York when the movie opened and the queue was around the block. I sat down and thought I had probably made the biggest mistake. But I still honestly think that it was the right thing for me to do. I still think I was too young for the part."

24/06/2003 09:10