Oh, Gambit. It seemed like your film was a shoo-in to be made way back in 2014 when Channing Tatum virtually willed the project into existence. But there have been so many delays over the last four years that my heart is hesitant to trust the latest news about the film.
Variety spoke with producer Simon Kinberg at the premiere of Deadpool 2 and this is what he had to say about Gambit;
“We have a script that we love — that Channing loves. We’ve met with a bunch of directors in the last couple of weeks, and we’re hoping to actually pick one in the next couple of weeks and shoot the movie maybe the end of this summer.”
That makes it seem like all gumdrops and roses, doesn’t it? They just have to hire a director, that’s all. No problem, right? Well, that is a problem, one that contributed to project’s numerous delays.
Let’s give a brief timeline of events in the Gambit film saga:
- September 2013: Channing Tatum makes a throwaway comment that his is interested in portraying the Cajun X-man on the big screen.
- January 2014: Producer Lauren Shuler-Donner tells Empire Magazine that she is “dying to do a Gambit film with Channing Tatum.”
- May 2014: Shuler-Donner says Tatum has signed on for a Gambit film. This is backed up by The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, who adds that the character will be introducer in X-Men: Apocalypse.
- January 2015: Channing Tatum announces that Gambit will be released on October 7, 2016. The date is confirmed by Fox later in the same day.
- June 2015: Rupert Wyatt signs on to direct Gambit.
- July 2015: The Wrap reports rumors that Channing Tatum is about to drop out of the project. The rumor is refuted by The Hollywood Reporter a few days later.
- September 2015: Wyatt steps down from the director’s chair, citing scheduling difficulties.
- October 2015: Rumor has it that Tatum is wooing director Doug Liman to take over the project.
- November 2015: The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Liman is in talks to direct Gambit.
- February 2016: Fox removes Gambit from its release schedule.
- March 2016: The Hollywood Reporter says the schedule change is so a writer of Liman’s choosing can rewrite the script.
- May 2016: X-Men: Apocalypse comes and goes without Gambit being included.
- August 2016: Liman backs away from Gambit to become attached to Justice League Dark.
- October 2017: Gore Verbinski begins talks to take over directing the film. The same month, Fox puts Gambit back on the release schedule with a February 14, 2019 released date.
- January 2018: Verbinski leave the production due to “creative differences, ” causing the film’s release date to be pushed back from February 14 to June 7, 2019.
So, you’ll forgive me if I don’t share the same optimism as Kinberg when it comes to this film. The problem isn’t finding a director–they’ve already had three—it’s keeping the director for more than a couple of months.
But if Fox wants to meet that June 2019 release date, they’re going to want to start filming soon. Maybe this time a director will stick.
More on this as it develops.