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Man, 20th Century Fox’s upcoming superhero romp Gambit can’t catch a break. The latest in a long series of problems, issues, and setbacks is a doozy, too. The Channing Tatum-fronted film is reportedly in the market for a new leader, as the director has left the project.
Deadline reports, confirming a story they broke earlier, that Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) has left Gambit, leaving them with a big hole to fill. Wyatt issued a statement saying:
I was very much looking forward to working with my friend Channing and the team at Fox, but regrettably a push in the start date now conflicts with another project. I thank them for the opportunity, and I know that Gambit will make a terrific film.
While the rumors making the rounds indicate that the split is the result of disputes over things like budget and the script, Wyatt’s side apparently says that the problem was simply an issue of timing. Originally, the X-Men spinoff was slated to begin production in just a few months time, kicking off in November. That, however, changed recently when it was pushed back so it won’t begin until March of 2016. Though Wyatt’s people wouldn’t say what the other film is, that created a conflict with another project.
As we’re still quite a ways off from the start of production, we will have to wait and see if Rupert Wyatt’s departure impacts the start of filming or not. The report indicates that Fox will likely find someone to fill the vacant roll in short order, and says that they are still dedicated to making Gambit. They obviously have big plans, as just the other day the studio indicated that the character could very well cross over with Deadpool and the X-Men franchises.
Wyatt leaving is just the latest issue Gambit has faced. In addition to the shifting production date, there have been reports of budget disputes, and then there was Channing Tatum’s highly public salary issue that led to reports of him leaving the film—these may or may not have been legit, and may or may not have been a backdoor bargaining tool.
That said, with Tatum firmly in place as the Cajun mutant who can create and control kinetic energy (not to mention he’s a hell of a card player), and Spectre’s Lea Seydoux now reportedly taking the lead female role as Bella Donna Boudreaux, things did appear to be moving forward nicely. From a perspective on the outside, it’s starting to feel like Gambit should hit the gas in short order, especially if Fox still intends to make the scheduled October 7, 2016 release date. If production doesn’t start until March, that might be cutting it a little bit close.