Channing Tatum is known by many names (at least around the offices of The Dissolve): Charming Potato. The Big Brisket. Chan-chan Tay-tay. To this list of monikers we will soon add another: Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. the member of the X-Men known as Gambit. The charmingly beefy actor has said previously that he’d had talks with X-Men producer Lauren Shuler-Donner about the character, who was created in 1990 by writer Chris Claremont and artist Jim Lee, and that he “would die to play” him.
Gambit previously appeared onscreen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he was played by John Carter’s Taylor Kitsch. I guess that movie’s not in continuity anymore, because now Shuler-Donner herself has confirmed that Tatum has the part. At the London première of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Shuler-Donner told Total Film (in the clip below), that Tay-Tay was the only one who could play-play the role, and explained why:
“He’s a rogue, Channing, he’s a rascal just like Remy LeBeau. And he can handle the action, we all know that. And he’s got a really good heart, ‘cause I know him personally, I did a movie with him. So I think he’ll be great, he’ll be great for Gambit. And he’s a Southerner, too. He’s not from New Orleans, but he is a Southerner, he understands that world, and you know Gambit loves New Orleans.”
ScreenCrush reports that they have separately confirmed that Tatum will play Gambit in his own spinoff film, which they speculate could open on July 13, 2018, which Fox has reserved for an unspecified Marvel movie. While they say he could also appear in the next X-Men movie, 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, he’s not officially attached to appear in it at this time.
Gambit was never my favorite X-Men character for reasons that were well-summarized in this recent Grantland essay by Alex Pappademas; mostly he’s a cool-looking guy with a cool-looking power (he can turn anything he touches into a makeshift explosives) weighed down by a convoluted backstory, a tediously endless romance with Rogue (played in the X-Men films by Anna Paquin), and an outrageously ridiculous Cajun accent. But Tatum’s a likable screen presence and a strong leading man in action movies like 21 Jump Street and White House Down. If we really must have a Gambit movie, Tatum’s a good fit for the role. Viva la Big Brisket.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Hollywood, Taylor Kitsch cried a sad-but-macho single tear.