"Gambit" Starring Channing Tatum Reportedly Official at Fox

The long-discussed "Gambit" film starring Channing Tatum in the lead role is officially a go at 20th Century Fox, Deadline reports Friday.

Tatum will also be a producer on the film, along with Reid Carolin (his partner in production company Free Association) plus long-time X-Men movie producer Lauren Shuler Donner and genre veteran Simon Kinberg. Josh Zetumer, who wrote this year's "Robocop" reboot, has been hired to write the screenplay. In an unexpected move, Zetumer's script is reportedly based on a treatment by prolific X-Men writer Chris Claremont, the character's co-creator.

As one of the most popular (and polarizing) X-Men characters, a solo "Gambit" movie has been a source of speculation for years. Tatum has long publicly expressed his appreciation of the character and desire to play Gambit on screen, and Donner discussed wanting to make the film happen on the promotional trail for this year's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." For months, reports have surfaced that Tatum as Gambit was virtually a done deal, but Friday's report is the first that states the film is officially in motion at Fox.

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"We really do want to try our hardest to give something fresh," Tatum said while promoting the recently released "Book of Life." "We're obviously going to go to the saving-the-world superhero movies eventually, but maybe not for the first one. We kinda want to introduce this character in a different way. When you try to do something different, you never know right off the bat what that is."

This won't be the first time Gambit has been portrayed in live-action -- Taylor Kitsch played the character in a supporting role in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," and expressed interest in revisiting the character in future projects.

Gambit -- a Cajun mutant with the ability to charge items with kinetic energy and uses playing cards and a metal staff as his weapons of choice -- was created by Claremont and artist (and current DC Entertainment co-publisher) Jim Lee, with his first full appearance in 1990's "Uncanny X-Men" #266. The character was a main fixture of the 1990s "X-Men" animated series, and has been a regular presence in Marvel's comic books, most recently "All-New X-Factor."

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