The long-gestating superhero film is one step closer to becoming a reality…for a third time.
Talks of a Gambit movie, based on the beloved card-slinging “X-Men” character, have been going on for so long that it almost feels like the project will simply be stuck in development hell forever. But the film seems to be back on track, with Deadline reporting that Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) is negotiating a deal to direct Gambit from a screenplay by Josh Zetumer.
Channing Tatum officially signed on to play Remy LeBeau/Gambit in 2014, taking over the role that originated with Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Tatum is reportedly still “as committed and as rigorous” to the character and project now as he was three years ago. Lea Seydoux was confirmed to co-star as Bella Donna Boudreaux in 2015. However, the project has changed hands so many times, making its general prognosis generally elusive, and Seydoux has definitely felt that as well. For now, it seems she is still attached to feature in Gambit.
Verbinski is next in a long line of directors considered for Gambit, which at one point might have included Darren Aronofsky (mother!), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year) and Gareth Evans (The Raid), all supposedly courted by Tatum himself. However, that auteur list eventually changed from delightfully weird to slightly more conventional. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) first signed on to direct the film before dropping out due to scheduling conflicts. Doug Liman (American Made) was next to accept the role as director before moving on too. The baton has been passed yet again.
Gambit would be Verbinski’s first go at a superhero film, if you don’t count Jack Sparrow as a superhero in his own right. Regardless, Verbinski certainly has ample experience in directing big studio pictures and franchises. Yet, his most recent effort was the arty gore (well, there’s a pun) film, A Cure for Wellness, which polarized our own writers here at FSR.
Tatum seemed to have a very different initial vision in mind for his debut as an “X-Men” character considering his early director choices. Even without Verbinski’s blockbuster credentials, having the director of A Cure for Wellness wouldn’t have been too far off that mark. Furthermore, having someone less commercial behind the camera would have contrasted the film against the typical blockbuster format the rest of the X-Men films had embraced, especially when planning the film two or three years ago. Now in 2017, Logan kind of broke the mould in that regard. Logan was a relatively conventional western, but still brought about a kind of character study of the Wolverine character that had yet to be tackled in his many iterations. A character like Gambit has the propensity to be as overly utilized as Wolverine was, given the kind of fanbase the former already has. Successfully starting Gambit’s legacy in a contained and focused way, and with an artistic edge, would ensure all eyes are kept peeled for future sequels.
Nonetheless, if there’s one thing audiences and executives can definitely trust about Verbinski is his skill in crafting some very fun blockbusters, and let’s face it, that’s the most likely way it will go. A Cure for Wellness bombed at the box office but there’s a reason they still make Pirates movies these days, with or without Verbinski. More importantly, though X-Men franchise hasn’t lost its thunder after all these years, even experiencing some real highs with the prequel films, Deadpool and Logan. It’s time Fox delivered the Gambit film it’s been promising for a long time.