Last summer during a press junket for White House Down, actor Channing Tatum first expressed interest in playing a comic book character. He specifically singled out Gambit due to his familiarity with the character and their shared southern roots. Since that time, Fox Studios has laid out plans to make the next sequel in the X-Men franchise tentatively titled, X-Men: Apocalypse. However, in recent weeks X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler-Donner spoke with EW and got even more specific:
“There was a regime [at the studio] that didn’t see the worth in [spin-offs], and the current people who run Fox understand, embrace it, and we’re going to do right by it…I’d like to do Gambit. I’d like to do Deadpool. We’ll see. There’s a lot of really great characters.”
Longtime fans of the franchise know that the character was already introduced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine played by Taylor Kitsch. However in the upcoming installment X-Men: Days of Future Past, it will introduce a time travel element that will reset many of the characters and unwieldy plot elements that were erroneously added to the franchise previously. Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) is already busy at work on the next installment and he shared some of his plans to Cine Premiere (via CBM):
“I’m considering a Gambit and potentially a young Nightcrawler for Apocalypse…[I was] going to have Nightcrawler appear [in Days of Future Past] and even wrote a scene, but I felt that we were forcing too many mutants known history.”
So clearly behind the scenes there is a strong push at Fox Studios to reintroduce the card-playing thief, Gambit, to the franchise. However things got more interesting recently when Channing Tatum himself admitted to MTV that he has meet with X-Men producers about the role and even went as far to say that he is working on the accent.
“I met with Lauren Shuler Donner…And I would love it. Gambit is really the only X-Man I’ve ever loved. I mean I’ve loved them all, they’re all great, but I guess from being down south – my dad’s from Louisiana, I’m from Mississippi, Alabama, Florida – I don’t know. I just related to him. He’s just kind of suave… He’s the most un X-Men X-Man that’s ever been in X-Men. Other than maybe Wolverine, who’s like the anti-hero. He’s a thief. He’s not even a hero. He’s kind of walking the line of grey…He loves women and drinking and smoking and stuff so he’s just a cool guy who happens to have a moral center….I hope it [comes together]. You never know it’s a weird industry. If the stars align, I would die to play it. I’m already working on the accent. It’s crappy at the moment.”
While he may not be the optimal choice of an actor for this particular role for some, it is understandable why Fox would want to involve him in the franchise. From these quotes, all signs are pointing towards the producers trying to cast Tatum in X-Men: Apocalypse, which makes a huge amount of fiscal sense. Tatum has proven he is a legitimate box-office draw in films ranging from Dear John to 21 Jump Street. The X-Men franchise is in a state of transition and a lot rides on Days of Future Past. Getting another proven star to build the franchise around, besides Hugh Jackman, is a good long-term plan. In addition, they are already laying out plans to spin the character off into his own solo film. The possibilities could be endless. There should be some solid announcements on X-Men: Apocalypse in the upcoming weeks, so make sure to keep checking P.O.G. for the latest.
How would you feel about Tatum as Gambit? One thing is for sure… he better get that accent together…