Despite rampant rumors this past week that ‘Magic Mike’ star Channing Tatum was walking away from Fox’s ‘Gambit’ solo movie– a project Tatum basically kickstarted when he expressed interest in playing the shifty X-Men thief– it is now reported that he has signed on the dotted line and the film is once again a go.
Rumors of a ‘Gambit’ film first emerged about five years ago, when Taylor Kitsch played the card-flinging mutant in 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine.’ But after that movie failed to deliver, spin-off talks subsided. But in 2013, when Tatum, whose star was rapidly rising in Hollywood, expressed interest, Fox revived the project, with Tatum himself stepping in as a producer, hand-selecting a director (‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’‘ Rupert Wyatt)and even playing a heavy role in the casting process. He even appeared at SDCC along with other ‘X-Men’ cast and crew, where he notably escorted Stan Lee from the stage after a near fall.
Shooting was slated to begin in October, when the split rumors surfaced. Though no official reason was confirmed, speculation pointed to financial compensation and a multi-film commitment as the reason the project nearly fell apart.
But it looks like whatever the wrinkle was, it’s been ironed out, which is wise for all parties. True, Tatum has been on a role, but he’s also had a misstep here and there, sci fi dud ‘Jupiter Ascending’ among them. ‘Gambit’ as part of Fox’s ‘X-Men’ franchise gives him a big action movie with a built-in audience and job security, should it do well enough to warrant sequels. Plus there’s the fact that Gambit could pop up in other X-Movies. For Fox, Tatum’s involvement was really the only reason to make this movie and since he has been so publicly attached to it, it’s not likely that audiences would be interested should another star be cast in his place.
Now that things are back on track, ‘Gambit’ should have no trouble making its already planned October 2016 release date. The script by Josh Zetumer borrowed heavily from a treatment by Chris Claremont, the comic book writer who created the character. Along with Tatum, producing the film are Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.
Are you glad both parties came to an agreement to get ‘Gambit’ back on track?