The actor publicly expressed interest in the role last year
Channing Tatum is set to play Marvel mutant Gambit in an upcoming “X-Men” spinoff movie, franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed this week after Tatum teased last month that he had met with her to discuss the role.
“It is Channing,” Donner told Total Film in an interview (above) released Tuesday. ”He's a rogue, he's a rascal, just like Remy LeBeau. And he can handle the action, as we know, and he's got a real good heart, I know him personally.”
“He'll be great for Gambit, and he's a southerner too,” Donner added. “He's not from New Orleans, but he is a southerner, so he understands that world, and you know Gambit loves New Orleans.”
Gambit, a Marvel mutant with the ability to mentally create, control and manipulate pure kinetic energy (as well as smack his enemies around with a bo staff), was previously played by Taylor Kitsch (“Lone Survivor”) in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” — typically fans’ least favorite installment of the 20th Century Fox franchise.
The studio had no comment for TheWrap.
Tatum has been expressing interest in the role since at least September, and even called the character his favorite from the Marvel comic book property.
“I would like to play Gambit. Gambit's my favorite. I'm from New Orleans, around that area. My dad's from New Orleans, and I like to do a Cajun accent,” Tatum told the media at a press event last year. “I could do it for real. No knock on Taylor Kitsch, though, 'cause I actually like his Gambit, but I've always lived around Cajun people … Gambit was always like the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking [guy]. He was the punk rock of all the superheroes. He's a thief. He kind of rode the line.”
The 34-year-old actor, who most certainly has the proper look for the character, will once again be showcasing his action chops this summer. First, he'll be fighting bad guys comedically in “22 Jump Street,” then he'll put on a pair of pointy ears to fight for Mila Kunis in “Jupiter Ascending.”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” hits theaters on May 23.
Director Bryan Singer has already said he hopes to bring Gambit, as well as Nightcrawler, back for sequel “X-Men: Apocalypse.”