The latest issue to plague 20th Century Fox’s plans for a Gambit movie–before it ever even gets into production–is now, apparently, the loss of director Gore Verbinski. The Oscar-winning director, perhaps best known as the captain of three Pirates of the Caribbean films, has exited the picture during the pre-production phase citing scheduling issues. Channing Tatum is still on board to play the title role, as he has been for a long, long time.
Deadline reported Verbinski’s exit, later confirmed by THR. Fox had the film set for a February 14, 2019 release, but recently pushed it back just a little bit to June 7, 2019. That’ll be the same weekend as Charlie’s Angels and The Secret Life of Pets 2. However, this new date could end up being a heart-breaker yet again. And while “scheduling issues” may be every bit as prevalent as “creative differences” when it comes to excuses for movie delays, Gambit had finally secured Verbinski, who had his own production team in place with plans for a New Orleans-based shoot this March, and the studio had set a release date. Is this more fallout from the impending Disney/Fox deal, or something else entirely?
Tatum was courted for the role of Gambit as far back as early 2014 by producer Lauren Shuler Donner and has weathered quite the ride since then. The director’s chair has been more of a rotating door over the last few years with names like Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and now Verbinski coming and going. If Fox hopes to keep their release date–and if Disney’s deal doesn’t factor in–they’ll have to move fast to secure a new director while also filling out the cast. Lizzy Caplan was the only name to surface in this regard in recent months, but like everything else surrounding the solo story about the kinetic energy-powered ragin’ Cajun mutant, we’ll have to wait and see if that deal is still on the table. The script for Gambit comes from Josh Zetumer, apparently aiming to be a heist film with comedy elements, and is produced by Tatum, Reid Carolin, Simon Kinberg, and Shuler Donner.