Recently the X-Men producer, Lauren Shuler Donner, has expressed interest in a Gambit movie. More importantly, she has expressed interest in a particular actor to play Gambit: Channing Tatum.
“I’m dying to do a Gambit movie with Channing Tatum. That doesn’t have to be a great big movie. It’s a thief in New Orleans, it’s a whole different story. He’s on board, and I have to get the studio on board. How can anyone resist Channing? He’s such a sweetheart.”
Last year, while promoting for White House Down, Tatum professed his love for the X-Men universe; while talking about X-Men, he expressed his love for Gambit. No word on any negotiations between the studio and the actor, but if the producer and the star both show interest then one has to assume that something is in the works.
Growing up as a kid of the 90s, there were a few cartoons that held a special place in my heart. Of course, Batman the Animated Series was number one, but a close second was X-Men. I can still remember that the two coolest characters on X-Men were Wolverine and Gambit. Hugh Jackman forever immortalized Wolverine, but I was shocked that Gambit was not brought to the big screen until X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In that film, Taylor Kitsch played Gambit, but neither the character nor the actor were given anything to do. So it is safe to say that Gambit was never given the proper big screen treatment.
So, it is thoroughly exciting to hear Lauren Shuler Donner talk about a big screen adaptation. However, I am not completely sold on Tatum yet. Yes, he has revitalized and restructured his career in the last few years and he has the look of the character, but will he have the natural swagger of Gambit? The man is as much a thief as he is a hero; so he needs to combine con man cleverness with his ability to smooth talk his way out of any situation. When I think of Channing Tatum cast as Gambit, I think of James Franco miscast as Oz in Oz: The Great and Powerful.
Perhaps I am too harsh on him; I am doing exactly what people did when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman (something I am completely for). Channing has progressed as an actor over the years and I would be more worried if this was the Tatum coming off of Step Up than the one we know now. Also, according to Tatum he grew up around the Cajun accent and thinks he could mimic it successfully. The accent is an extremely important part of Gambit; nothing against Taylor Kitsch but his accent was all over the place.
At this moment, I am on the fence with Tatum; I think if done properly it could work. But at the same time, I have this gut feeling that this is going to fail. Hopefully I am wrong; please prove me wrong.