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Surprise! The ‘Gambit’ Script Problems Continue

Channing Tatum Gambit
Columbia / Marvel

Simon Kinberg was feeling pretty chatty this past week. After weighing in on the screenplay for Deadpool 2 and all the superhero and sequel jokes the movie could make, Kinberg also opened up on the never-ending production delays faced by the studio’s big budget Gambit standalone film. And if you’ve been following the Gambit production for years and can’t take the stress, don’t worry: the film is still happening, it’s just not quite where anyone wants it to be yet.

In an interview with /Film, Kinberg talked about the challenges of getting the tone just right for one of Marvel’s most popular X-Men:

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. Deadpool feels like it exploded out of nowhere but it was a ten-year development process on that movie. I think it was honed over those ten years. I hope that Gambit doesn’t take ten years but it takes a little honing to get that tone and that voice exactly right. The character has such a specific voice in the comic in the same way that Deadpool has a specific voice in the comic, that we want to make sure that we capture that voice on the page. Really it’s just about getting a screenplay that is worthy of that character and I think we’re really close right now.

This is turning out to be one tricky script for Kinberg and his team. Back in May, we learned that Kinberg had a version of the script that was “very close” to done, but that he wanted to take a little more time to get the tone right. It looked like Gambit might finally get the green light in July, when Kinberg described the script as “great” and discussed potential filming dates for early 2017. Now it seems like Kinberg and his team are right back where they started.

If anything, the success of Deadpool proves that Kinberg and his team are right to be cautious. Audiences are desperate for movies that look and feel like something new; if Gambit is to have shot at matching Deadpool’s surprise success at the box office, it has to be a movie that gives us a fresh look at the Marvel universe (and not just the same mixture of disaster porn and dour-looking X-Men). With Channing Tatum still letting his sense of humor dictate his projects — I can’t get over the upcoming remake of Splash with Tatum playing the mermaid — Kinberg and his team are under a fair amount of pressure to give their leading man and audiences alike something fun.

Take your time, Kinberg. We’ve waited this long for a Gambit movie; we can wait a little longer for just the right script.

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