Channing Tatum has been chatting about the X-Men spin-off movie we never got to see: Gambit.

Channing Tatum brings a smart sense of self-awareness to the projects he features in. Perhaps that’s why he spent ages trying to wrangle his way out of the two-film contract that tied him into the meathead toy-based G.I. Joe series. After all, the two-film franchise’s anodyne tone took its ridiculous premise far too seriously, and Tatum, who in films like Logan Lucky and Magic Mike, is good  at exposing hidden depths to seemingly one-dimensional characters.

The actor has a couple of films out in the next two months, Dog (his directorial debut) and The Lost City Of Z, but ahead of their respective launches, he’s been chatting about the one project that he never managed to get out of development hell: the Gambit movie.

Tatum has been chatting to Variety about the unmade X-Men project, talking about how he was looking to bring that keen sense of self-awareness to the character which earned Deadpool a billion dollars. But despite being agonisingly close to going into production, the project remained mired in development hell: Tatum recalls that the film was ready to go, “with a cast, a production office, and a filming location,” but days before filming was due to commence, Fox’s takeover by Disney threw the film, first into paralysis before it was ultimately shut down completely.

“I shut off my Marvel machine,” said Tatum, following the loss of the project. “I haven’t been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.”

Tatum’s take on Gambit sounds pretty fun too, certainly an upgrade on Gavin Hood’s version of the character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where the cajun mutant was played by Taylor Kitsch. Whilst that iteration of the character was fairly well-received by fans, Tatum’s take sounds like it would have been lighter and perhaps smarter, with him describing it as “a romantic comedy superhero movie. The thesis was the only thing harder than saving the world is making a relationship work.”

Despite offering to helm himself when Fox was reluctant choose a director, ultimately, the project would remain unmade.

Whether we see the character appear in future Marvel films, as it now holds the rights, remains to be seen. Tatum’s version though, will only exist as a flight of fancy, one of those fascinating ‘what could have beens’.

You can check the rest of the interview piece with Tatum here. It’s well worth a read, whilst you can catch Tatum in Dog, next month.

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