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20th Century Fox’s X-Men spinoff Gambit has found itself in a creative setback. Last month, its director Rupert Wyatt, know for helming 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, exited the project, reportedly because his heart wasn’t in it. With an October 2016 release date penciled in, this has left Fox rushing to find a replacement for the Channing Tatum-led superhero adventure. The clock is ticking, but now it appears three finalists are up for the job.
Earlier this week, we learned that Doug Liman is being looked at to snag the director’s chair, but Heroic Hollywood has also heard that not only is Liman in consideration, but two other names have surfaced, as well. Each of the candidates has their own resume of unique work, so whoever were to be hired as Gambit’s new director would surely make the mutant card shark’s solo adventure a special one. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at each of these candidate's work and speculated on whether they would be a good fit for Gambit.
Doug LimanWhat He’s Worked On: The word that can best summarize most of Doug Liman’s career is "action." Since the 2000s, he’s helmed well-known projects like The Bourne Identity (he executive produced The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, as well), Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Jumper, all of which earned big bucks at the box office. He most recently directed the time-looped, Tom Cruise-led Edge of Tomorrow, which did quite well critically and commercially. Liman’s early career also included several comedies, like 1996’s Swingers.
Should He Direct Gambit? Liman would be right in his element if he were to take on Gambit. The man has plenty of experience directing action pieces, and because the Ragin’ Cajun’s solo feature is going to be smaller in scale than the main X-Men films, it needs someone at the helm that isn't going for a grand spectacle, but something tighter. Plus, with his comedic experience, Liman can infuse Gambit with fun moments to prevent it from becoming overly dark.
Joe CornishWhat He’s Worked On: Joe Cornish’s background is firmly rooted in comedy, mainly writing for TV series like The Adam and Joe Show, though he also wrote the screenplay for The Adventures of Tintin. Within the world of superheroes, his claim to fame is writing the original drafts of Ant-Man with Edgar Wright, and although Adam McKay and Paul Rudd later reworked their drafts, Cornish received Story and Screenplay credits in the final product. So far the only movie he’s directed has been 2011’s Attack the Block, starring Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega, though he once was in the running for a Star Trek sequel.
Should He Direct Gambit? Cornish obviously has experience bringing the funny, and his experience writing Ant-Man would certainly help with Gambit. However, it’s also risky for a studio to attach a director with only one project under their belt to a big blockbuster, even taking into account their writing work. Fox just learned that with Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank, so they would need to tread cautiously with Cornish. That said, Attack the Block did earn great reviews, so that should only help him.
Shane BlackWhat He’s Worked On: Shane Black has plenty of writing credits on his resume, from 1987’s Lethal Weapon to 1993’s Last Action Hero. His directorial debut was 2005’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (which also co-wrote), but now he's more well known for co-writing and directing 2013’s Iron Man 3, the latter position he inherited from Jon Favreau. His upcoming projects include 2016’s The Nice Guys, the Doc Savage movie and the Predator reboot.
Should He Direct Gambit? However you may feel about Iron Man 3, it did haul in a lot of money and eared mostly positive reviews from critics. Since it doesn’t look like Iron Man will get another solo adventure in the near future, he’d be free to jump over to Fox and direct Gambit. He’s only directed two movies, but since one of those was a superhero flick, that gives him extra qualification. However, taking into account everything that’s already on his plate for the future, it’s doubtful whether Black could (or want to) fit Gambit onto his plate, so Fox would have to provide a lot of incentive to take on the project.
So, Who Should Direct Gambit?