Last month, producer Simon Kinberg revealed that production on Gambit, the long-awaited X-Men spinoff starring Channing Tatum, would begin in early 2017. The producer said at the time that the script is "great," but earlier this month, he said that they are still trying to find the right tone and voice, claiming it's "really close" to moving forward. Today we have word that the project has hit yet another stumbling block, with director Doug Liman parting ways.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the filmmaker has left the project, news which came in tandem with Doug Liman signing on to direct DC Films' Justice League Dark. Insiders claim that production is still being planned for January 2017, with Channing Tatum still attached to star and Joshua Zetumer (RoboCop, The Infiltrator) writing the script. The start date has been pushed several times due to script issues, with filming originally set to begin in the fall of 2015, before being pushed to early 2016 and then early 2017. Doug Liman used this delay to film The Wall for Amazon Studios, which recently wrapped.
Ironically, this news comes a few months after speculation started brewing that Channing Tatum was backing out of Gambit to star in a DC Films project. The rumor started after newly-minted The Flash director Rick Famuyiwa started following a number of people associated with DC projects on Twitter, along with Channing Tatum, who isn't attached to any of DC's projects. However, this report claims that Channing Tatum is still set to star as Gambit.
Gambit was first seen on the big screen in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Taylor Kitsch. This New Orleans-based Mutant has the power to manipulate kinetic energy, and often uses playing cards against his victims, throwing them and turning them into tiny bombs mid-air. He is also known for fighting with his Bo staff. Very little is known about the story for this big screen adaptation, but, oddly enough, we reported exactly one year ago today that Lea Seydoux was being eyed for the female lead, Belladonna (Bella) Boudreaux.
We also reported in September that X-Men alum Anna Paquin will not return to reprise her role as Rogue, even though Rogue and Gambit had an interesting relationship in the comic books. With the script continuing to evolve, we don't know for sure what characters will be included in this story by the time production gets started, but we'll keep you posted with more dates as soon as they're available. Doug Liman's next movie, Mena, starring Tom Cruise, is slated to debut on January 6, 2017.