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An Open Letter To Channing Tatum To Save “Gambit”

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
An Open Letter To Channing Tatum To Save “Gambit”

Channing Tatum — what is going on? Are you seriously considering backing out of “Gambit”? There are entertainment sites with uncited sources saying that you are thinking of abandoning the project before you’ve even been fitted for a trenchcoat and neon pink body armor. If those sites are spreading unfounded rumors about you, let me know — let us all know! Yeah, I’m like everyone else; I read unfounded rumors all day every day. This one, though, these rumblings that you’re actually thinking of stepping away from “Gambit”? This one hurts. It’s real. Channing, say it ain’t so.

Channing Tatum Reportedly Planning to Leave “Gambit”

Channy Tates, both you and I know that I’m not your biggest fan. I saw you in the “G.I. Joe” movies, which I know you hated doing. But I also saw you in “21 Jump Street” and you convinced me that you weren’t just a dumb, pretty face by convincingly skewering the dumb and pretty character type in a surprisingly hilarious comedy. None of that was meant as a backhanded compliment, because “21 Jump Street” seriously changed my perception of you. You’re not just a rain-soaked rom-com guy, you can be legit funny! But the rest of your films, no, I haven’t seen. I didn’t see your dramatic turn in “Foxcatcher,” sure, but I also didn’t see “Jupiter Ascending.” You’re grateful for that, right? I didn’t even watch the “Magic Mike” movies, which may cause the Homosexual High Council to revoke my membership.

(Sidenote to the HHC — if Hollywood makes a “Magic Mike” film with Nick Offerman, Kristian Bruun and/or Martin Freeman, I will be first in line… and maybe the only one in the theater.)

So maybe I’m not the person that should convince you to stick with Gambit. You don’t care about what I have to think, I haven’t even seen a “Step Up” movie! On second thought, though, maybe I am the right person to talk to you right now, because I’m a Gambit fan. I’m a big Gambit fan. Chansy, I wrote over one thousand words about why I love Gambit. However uninformed I may be about your film career, I am overly informed about all things involving the Ragin’ Cajun. I even know that his nickname is the Ragin’ Cajun.

Believe me when I say this, C. Tates: you were born to play Gambit. This is something that you’re actively aware of too, okay? So don’t start acting like you aren’t invested all of a sudden. I actually consider myself a bit of an expert on your love of Gambit, Mr. Tatum. I first wrote about your Gambit love way back in September 2013 — almost two years ago! Dude, all everyone wanted to talk to Jamie Foxx about on the “White House Down” press tour was Electro and you kept stealing focus to talk about Gambit! Jamie Foxx was actually playing Electro at that time and you used the opportunity to stump for a Gambit film that no one else wanted. You even busted out a Cajun accent. Don’t act like you don’t care, Channing Matthew!

While I couldn’t see you as Gambit at the time thanks to my general Tatum ignorance (and, sure, the fact that I thought Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit was the one thing worth salvaging from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), your enthusiasm won me over. Also the fact that you grew up near New Orleans and were such an obvious fan of my favorite pink-clad scoundrel didn’t hurt. You’re funny, you’re incredibly charming and — total surprise to me — you seem like a smart, considerate, fun dude in interviews. I would have never pegged you as a Gambit, but you convinced me.

Tatum Opens Up on “Gambit” Accent, Costume & Card Work

You also convinced Fox, Chattums! Fox wasn’t going to make a Gambit movie, ever. I love Remy LeBeau, but he’s weird, man. He speaks in cartoonishly thick accent, uses playing cards as a weapon, sneaks around in shiny metal boots, thinks aerobics gear doubles as casual wear and is basically a pick-up artist. On top of that, Taylor Kitsch’s box office potential was torpedoed by “John Carter” and “Battleship.” Let’s get real — Fox was more likely to make a “Power Pack” movie than make a Kitsch-led “Gambit” solo film. And then you got them on board!

That’s right — longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner could not wait to make a Gambit movie with you. She even said the following: “How can anyone resist Channing? He’s such a sweetheart.” Are you really going from sweetheart to heartbreaker, Chatman?

Then you kept talking about it and even began developing it with Fox. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, and I don’t need to because you spend a lot of your time in front of people with microphones. The phrase “I’m dying to do it” was uttered. Don’t you remember?

And then it happened! In January of 2015, a year after you and Lauren Shuler Donner first passed each other notes, you made it official. The impossible was happening: Gambit, a character that hasn’t even been able to maintain a steady presence in the comics for the last 15 years, was getting his own movie. All of this happened because of your love and persistence. What could possibly make you want to back away from it now?

I think I speak for every Gambit fan when I say this comes as a complete shock, Tum-Tums. Barely a month ago you were gushing about the role during the “Magic Mike XXL” press tour. Channing Tatum, you brought playing cards to press junkets! Seriously! You were even searching for perfect NOLA guy to base your accent on. Dude, you were doing research on both card tossin’ and Cajun talkin’ and you had even begun getting into Gambit’s lean shape for the role. This was July 1, bro. This was recent.

You were still committed during Comic-Con International. Okay, I’m sure it’s not that much of a pain going to San Diego and sitting on stage for 20 minutes, but your movie isn’t even filming yet; you didn’t have to go there and hang out with the “X-Men: Apocalypse” cast or help Stan Lee off the stage — but you did. And there you are, standing with the rest of Fox’s Marvel heroes in a super-posed family picture. Do you really want to be the guy that ruins that photo op by cutting out? Do you want to be cut out of the family?

So yeah, Channing, you can see why I’m surprised. This felt like the most donest of all deals ever. The fact that Tatum suddenly might want out does not bode well for this film. There’s gotta be something “Island of Dr. Moreau”-level bad if it’s caused Tatum to hightail it. And that’s why I need to pen a sub-open letter to 20th Century Fox right now.

Hey 20th Century Fox — whatever Channing Tatum wants, give it to him. You know you greenlit this movie because of him and you know his name has more cache with moviegoers than a cartoon from twenty years ago. Get it together; push the date back, push it up, increase the budget, rework the script, get on board with the pink chest-plate, whatever. Just do it, because this movie is nothing without Channing Tatum. Thanks! XOXO

To put all this in context, I do want you to know I support you in whatever you decide to do, Monsieur Tatum. I don’t doubt your love of Gambit, mostly because you’ve made it clear during ninety percent of the interviews you’ve given over the last two years. If you want out, I know it’s most likely because there’s something out of your control that you know will not result in a good film. I just don’t want it to come to that. As soon as I saw this GIF of you voguing, I honestly knew you’d make the perfect Gambit. I mean, come on!

There’s so much potential here, and I think the world needs you to bring Gambit’s ridiculous suaveness to life. Please, Channing, don’t go. And Fox, fix this.

And if all this goes to hell, then I guess I’ll be penning an open letter to Nick Offerman. He’d look good in pink, right? Right?

Brett White is a writer and comedian living in New York City. He made videos for the Upright Citizens Brigade as a member of UCB1 and writes for the podcast Left Handed Radio. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).

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