After years of promises that Gambit will return in his own X-Men spinoff movie, the character finally got cast last week. Actor Channing Tatum, known for roles in 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike and White House Down, has been cast to play the Cajun card-throwing mutant.
We’ve had about a week to sit on this news, and I must confess that I’m still questioning whether or not he’s the right man to play the Louisiana larcenist. Granted, he does look the part. But how well can he play the part?
We’ll be getting more than one chance to find out, because Tatum is attached to play the part in at least two movies, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Multiple sources say that Tatum will get a stand-alone spinoff, with his version of Gambit being introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse. The stand-alone film is still in development, however, and no director has been attached.
Lauren Shuler Donner, producer for multiple X-Men movies, had a few more things to say about the casting choice:
Well you know, 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. He’ll be great for Gambit, and he’s a Southerner, too! He’s not from New Orleans, but he is a Southerner, and he understands that world.
My problem with this is that first sentence, the phrase “he can handle the action, we all know that!” Sure, he can. We’ve seen him play dry, emotionless, murdering machines in both G.I. Joe and White House Down. And he’s done fairly well in more comedic roles like 21 Jump Street. Gambit, however, is a deeper character with a rich backstory; he’s not a cookie-cutter action character made specifically for a one-shot movie. Does Tatum have the acting chops to give fans the Gambit they deserve?
I’m not saying that he won’t do well; the movie hasn’t been made, so I have no way to know for sure. And I’m all for giving actors a chance. I have really high hopes for Ben Affleck’s Batman. The difference is that I think Ben Affleck is an established actor who has portrayed multiple types of characters in incredibly varying roles. I don’t have faith in Channing Tatum’s abilities to play Gambit, or at least the version of Gambit that I want. He can handle the action, and the periodic comedic quips, but it remains to be seen if he can give the character any depth.
Channing Tatum’s Gambit will be introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse. His role in the story is unconfirmed, but Gambit did spend some time as one of Apocalypse’s Four Horseman in the comics.
What do you think? Can Tatum cut it as Gambit? Is there a different actor that you would have preferred? What do you think his role will be in X-Men: Apocalypse? Let us know in the comments below!