Before X-Men. Hugh he was in a production of Oklahoma
in London that was supposed to come to Broadway. Then it didn't come to Broadway because the actors union wouldn't let the London cast reprise their roles in NY. One of my friends was supposed to work on that NY production that was cancelled.
So I'd heard of Hugh because of that whole debacle. But when I saw X-Men in the theater for the first time, my reaction to the cage match scene was "THAT'S the guy from Oklahoma?!?!?!?"