Will ‘Gambit’ be another ‘Fantastic Four’ case?

Alec Badalian, Magazine Editor

As of late, it almost seems as if 20th Century Fox faces a curse whenever a film based on a Marvel property. There was the whole Fantastic Four debacle which is now infamously known as one of the most disastrous film productions of all time (more info here), which gave the studio an awful reputation as a greedy, capitalist studio who doesn’t allow their visionaries to express their creative ideas. Now with their next original project Gambit, which hasn’t even begun production yet, the film has already caught itself in a web of conflict.

Late last month, it was rumored that actor/producer Channing Tatum, who will be portraying Remy LeBeau/Gambit, would be dropping out of the project due to scheduling conflicts. A few days later, the rumor was debunked, allowing Fox and fans of the comic book character to sigh with relief in hopes that the film would be going only uphill from here on out. But not even a month later, another problem struck.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt was tapped to direct until recently when he announced he was leaving the film due to, yet again, scheduling conflicts. The film is set to begin filming in November 2015 and is to be released in November 2016 which, for a film of the scope the studio has planned, is not a huge amount of time. The budget is rumored to be as high as $150 million, a surprisingly grand limit for a film based on a relatively unknown property. So as of now, the film is left without a director.

Some rumors that are floating around claim that Wyatt left the production not because of scheduling conflicts, but Fox wants this to be their next big superhero brand in the spirit of Wolverine, which has led to complications with the script. It’s been going through countless revisions as the writers, who want the film to be a more character-based origin rather than all out action extravaganza, and the studio can’t quite figure out how to approach the material due to their opposing ideas. These revisions have, in turn, been costing the studio more and more money to be thrown on top of the already massive budget.

There are also rumors stating that Tatum himself may take on the role himself, which is, to be put lightly, an absolutely terrible idea. He’s a talented actor but has never directed a film of any kind and having a huge studio tentpole as a directorial debut is far too ambitious. Starring and producing are challenges on their own, adding the task of directing will have Tatum biting off far more than he can chew.

Gambit is still expected to begin filming in Nov. which is less than two months away at this point. As of now, the project has an unfinished script, no director and is on its way to going over-budget. Not exactly a great start for a movie with so much at stake for the studio. Can the film overcome all of these issues, or will it play out like Fantastic Four and result in another doomed franchise for Fox?