Things weren’t looking good for the production of Gambit. It was reported that Channing Tatum may have had to drop out of the title role because he wanted to pursue other projects, namely a directorial debut. The actor had expressed interest in playing the Ragin’ Cajun back in 2013. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner then said that the actor had signed on, though we are learning that he was more attached to the project then confirmed for the role. Tatum even made a surprise appearance at the Fox panel at Comic-Con this year, leading many to believe that he was going to be Gambit.
But the news of Tatum departing from Gambit apparently has been greatly exaggerated, as it has been confirmed that the actor has officially signed a deal. It is also being reported that the deal may not have been in jeopardy as first thought.
THR reports that Gambit was never in any real danger, mostly because Tatum championed the film since the very beginning. However, they can confirm that Tatum and Fox did at one point hit an impasse, adding that such a thing is typical in studio and talent negotiations. The trade also adds that “back end compensation was also a sticking point.”
Now Tatum has proven himself to be a viable star, appearing in big budget films like 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street, but has also shown us he can do something a bit more grounded and humanistic like Magic Mike.
With studios building the franchises as shared universes, one of the biggest concerns for Fox is if Tatum will sign on to appear in more than just the generic trilogy (if that is even the plan), and make an appearance in films outside his own, like the X-Men films or maybe even Wolverine, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four. The studio believes that Gambit is one of the anchors of the X-Men universe, so signing him on for multiple films is crucial. Going off previous reports, it doesn’t seem like Tatum will be a part of any of any of the X-Men films currently in production. But that can all change at any given notice.
Filming is expected to start this fall. Tatum is the only one confirmed for a role, but Lea Seydoux (Spectre, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) is in talks for a mysterious role. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), will direct Gambit, using a script written by Josh Zetumer, based on a treatment by Gambit co-creator Chris Claremont. Tatum, Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg are producing.
Gambit hits theaters on October 7th, 2016.