Fox’s Gambit film has experienced repeated delays, with the planned X-Men spinoff losing two directors along the way, even as it missed its original October 2016 release date. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was originally attached, only to exit the project in 2015 due to reported scheduling conflicts. He was followed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), who then left the film in August.
The director explained last week that he wasn’t “feeling” the script, but in a new interview Liman elaborated on his reasons for walking away from Gambit.
“I never formed a connection,” he told Collider. “Many of these movies, I don’t have the connection on day one, but I find the connection. I just never find it. I don’t always find a connection. I want to make a movie that, if anybody else made it, it would be different.”
“When I went to make Swingers, I showed the script to a friend of mine, and she said, ‘Why would you want to make this movie? The Trent character’ – who was played by Vince Vaughn – ‘is totally unlikeable,'” he continued. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I love Trent! That’s the reason I’m making this movie!’ She was like, ‘You’re crazy! He’s totally unlikeable!’ And then, I made the movie and she saw the movie, and she was like, ‘You’re right, he is likeable.’ And then, I went to make Go and I showed the script to the same friend, and she said, ‘I don’t know why you’d make this movie. Nobody in this film is likeable!’ Right in that moment, it clicked. I was like, ‘I get it! I need to make Go, for the same reason that I needed to make Swingers. Somebody else making Swingers might have made Vince Vaughn’s character into an asshole and been judgmental about him.'”
“My specific take on that character is what the audience then took away, so I knew that I needed to make Go because my version of Go celebrated those characters instead of being judgmental of them,” Liman said. “I knew that everybody would like those characters because I liked them. And ever since Go, I’ve looked for that personal connection where, because of the experiences I’ve had in life, if I tell this story, it will be fundamentally different than if any other director tells it, even if the experience I’m talking about is the previous movie I’ve made. … That’s part of what didn’t click for me on Gambit, in finding that unique way in,” the director added, bringing his remarks back to the troubled film.
Swingers and Go, which were released in 1996 and 1999 respectively, were two of Liman’s earliest films. The director has since gone on to direct films such as The Bourne Identity, The Wall and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Gambit won’t be his only shot at bringing a superhero to the bring screen; he’s slated to direct the Justice League Dark movie, which adapts the Justice League’s supernatural counterparts.
As of January, Tatum was still attached to Gambit, which no longer has a release date.