In yet another setback to Fox’s long-developing X-Men spinoff, director Gore Verbinski has reportedly exited Gambit.
According to multiple outlets, the split was amicable, and attributed to scheduling conflicts. Channing Tatum remains attached in the title role.
Best known for Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Verbinski boarded Gambit in October, following the loss in 2016 of Doug Liman, who had himself replaced Rupert Wyatt on the project. The film had already experienced repeated production delays, because of both director changes and script issues, but appeared to be on track to being principal photography in March in New Orleans.
It’s not yet known how Verbinski’s departure will affect the current production schedule or the film’s announced Feb. 14, 2019, release date.
Tatum stars as Remy LeBeau, the devil-may-care mutant with a penchant for theft and the ability to charge objects — typically playing cards — with explosive kinetic energy. The actor was originally cast in the role for 2003’s X2, but the character was ultimately written out of the script. When it was decided to include Gambit in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Tatum was unavailable, and Taylor Kitsch was used in his place.
Nevertheless, Tatum has long championed the role, and a potential solo movie, and has been favored by veteran X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner. The actor reaffirmed his commitment to Gambit in August, explaining that the financial and critical success of Deadpool and Logan had inspired filmmakers to explore new directions with the script, effectively starting from scratch.
Lizzy Caplan is reportedly in talks to co-star with Tatum.
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