It's official! Channing Tatum is Gambit! Despite reports that the actor was wanting to back out of the project, THR confirms that Channing Tatum has officially closed his deal, making him part of 20th Century Fox's Marvel family. The film will open in theaters October 2016.
Most expected that the actor would eventually sign his deal. And fans were shocked to hear that he wanted out. The project seemed to be falling apart as sources close to the production suggested that Fox and Channing Tatum couldn't come to terms on the contract. While that is now proven untrue, it is said that the studio and the actor did hit a sensitive spot in negotiations. That sensitive spot was not disclosed to the public.
The negotiations caused a heated series of back-and-firths, as Gambit, a spinoff from the lucrative X-Men franchise, geared up for its shoot this fall. These types of snags are generally expected to happen in top-level talent dealmaking. No one truly believed the actor was going to walk. He is also attached to Gambit as a producer, and has invested quite a bit of time into making the Mutant superhero standalone film a reality. You may remember that Channing Tatum aggressively lobbied for the part.
Channing Tatum's involvement with Gambit stretches back a few years to 2013, when he mentioned in a press interview for White House Down that he wanted to play the part. Up until that point, the actor had never played a superhero in a movie. Asked if he had a favorite, he gave this response.
""I would like to play Gambit. Gambit is my favorite, because I'm from New Orleans, or around that area. My dad is from New Orleans and I'd love to do that. I can do the accent, and no knock on Taylor Kitsch at all, because I really liked his Gambit, but I've always lived in and around the Cajun area. Gambit was always the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking guy. He was punk rock. He kind of rode the line."
News that Channing Tatum wanted to back out was quite surprising, as he had just shown up at Comic-Con in early July to support his movie, arriving in a T-shirt that was adorned with the Cajun Mutant. Part of the problem in getting the actor to sign his deal reportedly dealt with his extent in the involvement of the overall X-Men universe. 20th Century Fox wants Gambit to be a character who takes the place of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Hugh Jackman is leaving that character behind after Wolverine 3 in 2017, which leaves a big hole in Fox's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gambit, who can harness kinetic energy, is seen as a superhero who can serve as an anchor for the entire franchise. Like Wolverine, he can appear in his own solo movies while also playing a part in the ensemble adventures that the studio has planned over the course of the next few years. It's a commitment that will last more than a decade. This is said to be a cause for concern for the actor. Sources also claim that backend compensation was an arguing point. Rupert Wyatt, who directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is already locked in to direct Gambit. With Channing Tatum secured in place, and production to start this fall, we should start to hear more casting in the next few weeks. Josh Zetumer wrote the script, based on a treatment by Gambit co-creator Chris Claremont. Channing Tatum is producing alongside Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.