And another one bites the dust. Gore Verbinski (A Cure For Wellness) is the latest director to board and then eventually depart Gambit, the X-Men spinoff starring Channing Tatum as the mutant card-slinger, EW has learned.
Twentieth Century Fox announced Verbinski for the job in October as the studio set a Feb. 14, 2019 release date. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) have also cycled through the project.
Gambit, which has been in development for several years, would see Tatum as Remy LeBeau, a mutant with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy. Among other effects, this allows him to transform his favorite deck of playing cards into explosives. Taylor Kitsch portrayed the character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Fox also has three other X-Men-related films on the calendar: New Mutants (April 13, 2018), Deadpool 2 (June 1, 2018), and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Nov. 2, 2018).
However, the Walt Disney Company announced it will purchase assets of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion, which would bring the film rights to properties like the X-Men under the Mouse House umbrella. Many have since questioned what the future of this merger will look like — including Ryan Reynolds, who plays the R-rated Deadpool.
“I think the truth is when you have these movies that need a very special and unique tone, it takes a little while to find that tone,” producer Simon Kinberg said in 2016. “Deadpool feels like it exploded out of nowhere, but it was a 10-year development process on that movie. I think it was honed over those 10 years. I hope that Gambit doesn’t take 10 years, but it takes a little honing to get that tone and that voice exactly right.”
Kinberg reiterated the project was still in development a few months later. “Channing is, in the best possible way, as committed and as rigorous about getting the character right as Ryan was with Deadpool and as Hugh was with Logan on this movie,” he explained to Latino Review, “and so it’s been about finding a filmmaker and someone who can capture that voice and hand it off to Channing.”
Tatum, also, mentioned at San Diego Comic-Con in July that the team was giving Gambit “a rethink” after Deadpool and Logan “really broke down a lot of doors for us.”