Empire snagged a couple of quotes from superstar Channing Tatum about his upcoming lead role in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men solo reboot/spin-off movie Gambit, and he makes it very clear that this will be much more of an unconventional character story for title anti-hero Remy LeBeau than the typical superhero outing.
“Josh Zetumer just turned in the first draft of the script, and it’s killer,” adds Tatum. “None of us were sure how he was going to deal with the X-Men world. But we’re going to be changing some of the tropes of these movies. It’s always about saving the world (laughs), but maybe we’re going to shift things a little bit. There’s so many ways you can take [an origin story]. You could do it like ‘Batman Begins,’ or a different take and go the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ route. All I can say is, I’m super excited.”
Although Tatum has excelled at both comedic (21 & 22 Jump Street) and dramatic chops (Magic Mike, Foxcatcher), he has yet to find a suitable action franchise to hang his hat on, having been unceremoniously killed off in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and bombing outright with White House Down and Jupiter Ascending. One thing that might make The Ragin’ Cajun a perfect fit for Tatum (as opposed to a secret service agent or half-dog man) is his own family heritage.
“I love Gambit,” Tatum said previously. “I grew up in the South; my father’s from Louisiana. We’d go to New Orleans and I heard all the dialects. It felt so different from the rest of America; it has its own ancient culture. So I identified with that. And he always felt the most real of the X-Men to me. He’s kind of a tortured soul and he’s not a good guy. But he’s not a bad guy, either. He walks his own path. And of course he plays cards and drinks and is a martial-arts badass!”
That penchant for partying, martial arts and playing cards are all qualities Tatum has in spades (pun intended), having practiced wuzuquan kung fu since childhood and opening his own night club, Saints & Sinners, on NOLA’s historic Bourbon Street three years ago. Needless to say, Tatum should throw a mean energy-charged card once Gambit goes before cameras, assuming the project can find a solid director with only a bit more than a year before its scheduled release date of October 7, 2016. High-profile helmers Bennett Miller and Darren Aronofsky have already passed on the project.
With a screenplay by Josh Zetumer (RoboCop), Gambit will be produced by Tatum and his creative partner Reid Carolin, along with X-Men franchise stewards Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner