So, the big news going around the internet these days is that Channing Tatum pulled out from staring in the potential Gambit movie Fox has been planning to produce. The exact reasons are still shrouded in mystery but the speculated reasons seem to be that there were was a disagreement over the script. There are some who’re ecstatic that Tatum will most likely not comprise the role of a lot of 90s kids’ favourite X-Men, while others are quite disappointed. Personally, I liked Tatum for the role, for various reasons, but the news of him pulling out of acting in the project doesn’t disappoint me. What disappoints me is that there may be some shitty script work at play over at Fox.
Now I don’t know if that’s true, but Fox has hurt us before with a lacklustre outing of a fan favourite in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and others; but since then, I think Fox has been making some pretty strong X-Men movies. It’s hard to imagine they would take a step back from the well-made First Class and Days of Future Past, but I wouldn’t put it by them either. One of the reasons I liked Tatum for the project was because he is a fan of Gambit and I don’t know if I can say the same about the movie execs over at Fox.
The movie picked up the director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which I think was a pretty good grab, but they also picked up the writer from the recent Robocop remake. I didn’t hate the Robocop remake like many others, but I will definitely say that the script wasn’t helping that movie at all. With the Josh Zetumer, the writer, at the helm, I could imagine Tatum and his people looking at the first few drafts and thinking that it wasn’t good enough. That got me thinking about what kind of storyline and what kind of movie a great Gambit film could look like and I realized it wouldn’t be that easy.
I’ll admit I am a huge Gambit fan. I was enthralled by the Cajun badass as a kid. Not only would he talk back to top X-Men like Wolverine and Cyclops, but he also was man enough to mack on and hook-up with one of the deadliest women in the world, Rogue. He’s was the epitome of cool. Unfortunately, he never really had the notoriety of a Wolverine or the dynamics of a Cyclops. As a result, he never had a comic that reached the popularity of something like Wolverine: Origins. Don’t get me wrong, he played an important role in some of the best X-Men storylines, but since the 90s, he’s been tucked away in the verse and hasn’t had any movie spark that has revitalized the character. Some may remember he had a brief cameo appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, arguably one of the worst superhero movies since Daredevil (I still won’t blame Affleck for that one); and, well, that definitely wasn’t the spark to introduce Gambit into the X-Men cinematic universe.
I think that for a great Gambit film they should strive for the Reese’s Phenomenon (my previous post) and place the character in an already well established movie genre. If you haven’t read up on Gambit, part of him being the coolest anti-hero in the 90s was that before he was an X-Men, he was a top ranking member in Marvel’s Thief’s Guild, and later, a leader of a group called the Marauders who worked for the well-known X-Men villain Mister Sinister. If I had a chance at this script, I would try to write a crime movie that takes place between when Gambit was exiled from Louisiana, but before he led the Marauders even though there isn’t necessarily a comic that depicts that time.
Gambit would still be running from the Assassin’s Guild, the people he wronged which led to his banishment, but still trying to make a living with the skills he has spent his life mastering, thieving and blowing shit up. For Gambit, the movie would be about him trying to restructure his life after losing everything he had in Louisiana, and subsequently, having to deal with his powers that are getting stronger and more uncontrollable. However, the overarching plot would centre on criminals versus the law.
The movie would start with a city police department that feels like the rampant new thefts in their city are over their heads, and as a result, a James Madrox, a mutant that can multiply himself, led X-Factor (or something like an X-Factor) would be sent in by the government to oversee operations. Somewhere late in the first act of the movie, it would be revealed that Madrox isn’t just chasing down Gambit, the cause of all the new theft, but also the Assassin’s Guild members who are wanting to kill Gambit. Of course with a character like Gambit, there would a romantic sub-plot, but if you know the character, you would know that it would tie in with the Assassin’s Guild members who are out for blood. With these elements in play, Fox could make a movie that could start off an intriguing arch for the fan-favourite, but also start expanding their X-Men universe. There could even be well-timed cameos from other X-Men characters that I haven’t mentioned.
Essentially, though, the movie would have to fit Gambit’s lifestyle and position. He can’t be placed in a situation where the X-Men would be needed, but you still need the stakes to seem high. Fox actually has a rare opportunity to play with Gambit as a character because there isn’t really one comic that completely defines the character. They can shoehorn the movie in between two important moments in his life that will eventually develop into telling the stories told in the comics. That also secures a couple of movies out of the Gambit name, which is always a bonus these days.
Tatum may or may not have made a great Gambit, but I was intrigued to see how he would do regardless of the speculation. Gambit needs to be a mixture of Dave Franco in Now You See Me, Sean William Scott in Bulletproof Monk, and Matt Bomer from White Collar. All of which that needs a thick coating of Cajun sensibility. If Tatum dropped attempting the accent for the role, unless of course he could absolutely nail it, I think it’s completely in his repertoire to hit all those notes. But, hey, that may just be me. I love Channing Tatum. That guy is solid, and his movies may not be complete hits but they’re always entertaining.
Anyways, that’s my two cents on the matter. I now just want to leave you on how I think the movie should open:
Imagine the movie opening on a seedy, but popular club. Two well dressed guys cut the line and are let in by bouncer. The camera has a tight shot on the two guys as they work their way through the various drunken dancers. As they move towards a well-guarded backroom, one guy starts asking the other about the man they’re about to meet. They describe the legend and fame of Gambit when he was in Louisiana and how he was apparently kicked out of the State all together. The two guys get to the backroom and a small group of people are sitting around a poker table with two empty seats. Furthest from the door, one man at the poker table is face down in a mess of cards, a half drunken bottle nearly spilling in his hand. The two guys sit down and one asks when this Remy guy is showing up. The face down man perks up, Remy–Gambit–straightens his coat, and in one smooth movement collects the mess of cards into one hand. As he looks about his assembled company, he shuffles the deck with one hand and takes a sip from the bottle with the other. Seeming pleased with the look of the group, Remy starts to describe the job he would like to do…
Let me know what you think of that as an opening. Although, writing it out has already made me want to write a script and send it to Fox.