The last thing we officially heard about Channing Tatum‘s Gambit solo film was from franchise producer Simon Kinberg that suggested back in February that it could be ready to shoot early next year. The producer pointing out that with three other X-Men films (X-Men: Dark Phoenix was later revealed as the third) they’re a little busy at the moment.
“It’s in active development. It’s a movie that we hope will be ready to go by the end of this year and shoot next year. We have two or three X-Men related movies this year so it can wait for a moment. The process has been that Channing [Tatum] is as determined about getting the character right as Ryan Reynolds was about Deadpool and Hugh [Jackman] was about this Logan movie. We know that when we get those right, the movie succeeds so we want to make sure we get Gambit right because we want him to be the beginning of a whole new franchise.”
Although, despite the studio ramping up Marvel release dates (10 films between 2018-2021) recently they haven’t announced a new director or the film’s cast which has made some a little worrisome. Even though, Kinberg words here contradict assumptions the film was dead or dying. Channing Tatum reaffirming the film is still in the works.
Channing Tatum reaffirming the film is still in the works.
While promoting another Fox comic book film Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Channing revealed to ComicBook it’s still very much in active development echoing Kinberg’s previous comments from earlier in the year.
“Yeah, of course. We’re working on it right now.”
Speaking to CinemaBlend he revealed the delays have been “giant blessings”. Possibly teasing a more gritty and R-rated version of Gambit coming out of the delays.
“I think we got super, super lucky. I think a lot of setbacks, we’ll look at them in hindsight as giant blessings. Because we were making it, [and] we’re writing a movie right at the turn of a paradigm shift in movies. So we got lucky that we didn’t just come out with ours, which I don’t think was fully formed. It was a good idea. We were going in the right direction. And then we got to learn from two really beautifully different kinds of a complete paradigm shifts… like Logan and Deadpool, I mean, they knocked down a lot of doors for us to be able to do things that we wanted to do in the first place.”
One of the big problems the project faced was when Rupert Wyatt (possibly being eyed for WB’s Green Lantern Corps.) had been originally attached to direct and was deeply involved on the creative side. Rupert was hiring French actress Lea Seydoux (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Spectre) as the female lead Bella Donna. There were rumblings of other roles cast but yet to be announced before his departure.
When Rupert left and Doug Liman came into the picture, Liman wanted to change things creatively from the ground up including the cast. Lea Seydoux was eyed for recasting and possibly others Rupert was looking at for roles.
The script then underwent rewrites at the hand of Magic Mike screenwriter and producing partner of Tatum, Reid Carolin. Of course, Doug left to leave even more studio projects (exited Justice League Dark since), leaving the studio to deal with the changes he made before quitting.
Gambit’s script has been seemingly their aim for the last year, to get a script strong enough that a new director won’t tinker with it. I’m still taken back how fans are shocked a studio is spending so much development time on a project like Gambit when projects like Deadpool and Logan took their sweet time to get things right. Their outcome speaks larger than a making a quick release date.
Getting the script and character right seems to be a huge priority at the moment as Kinberg stated back in 2016 to SlashFilm. He makes direct comparisons to the long development process Deadpool undertook.
“I think the truth is when you have these movies that need a very special and unique tone, it takes a little while to find that tone,” he said. “‘Deadpool’ feels like it exploded out of nowhere, but it was a 10-year development process on that movie. I think it was honed over those 10 years.”
“I hope that ‘Gambit’ doesn’t take 10 years, but it takes a little honing to get that tone and that voice exactly right. The character has such a specific voice in the comic in the same way that ‘Deadpool’ has a specific voice in the comic, that we want to make sure that we capture that voice on the page. Really it’s just about getting a screenplay that is worthy of that character, and I think we’re really close right now.”
Another aspect here is a smart move on the part of Fox putting Channing in a film like Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, mainly since he doesn’t exactly have a huge action lineup in his credits. Letting audiences see him in a big action role like this might have been more strategic than most would assume.
Roles in projects like The Hateful Eight and Kingsman could end up sparking more interest to see Channing take an outlaw role like Gambit than they would have two years ago.
I personally had hoped that Fox would use Gambit as their as their window to reboot the adult version of Rogue and finally pair the two romantically. It looks like we’re getting a younger version of her in X-Men: Dark Phoenix and with other characters getting the reboot treatment seeing someone new take over for Anna Paquin isn’t the worst idea ever.
As for a new director, I would mind seeing Hell or High Water‘s David Mackenzie tackle Gambit.
If Gambit begins filming in 2018 it could easily end up landing one of the 2019 release dates Fox has mapped out which includes one set for a prime Valentine’s Day release on February 14th, 2019. The other two new dates include June 7th, 2019 and November 11th, 2019.