Channing Tatum has closed a deal to star in Gambit, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men spin-off movie.
The move, which was widely expected, contradicts reports that appeared last week suggesting the actor would exit the project after failing to come to terms with Fox.
Sources say that Tatum and the studio did hit a sensitive spot in negotiations, but such back-and-forth is a normal part of top-level talent dealmaking. The Magic Mike star’s participation hardly was in any real danger because the actor already had invested quite a bit in the superhero part. Tatum has been attached to the movie (loosely then officially) as both actor and producer for a few years and even made a surprise appearance at Fox’s X-Men panel at Comic-Con in July.
One thing that needed figuring out was the extent of Tatum’s involvement in the X-Men universe. Fox sees Tatum’s Gambit, a mutant who harnesses kinetic energy, as one of the anchor characters of the X-universe, akin to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, someone who would anchor his own movies and appear in numerous others. It’s a commitment that could theoretically last more than a decade. (Jackman has been portraying Wolverine since 2000, for instance.)
Rupert Wyatt, who directed Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will direct Gambit.
Josh Zetumer penned the script for the film, based on a treatment by Gambit co-creator Chris Claremont. Tatum, Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg are producing.