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Why Gore Verbinski May Be the Right Man to Direct Gambit

By Blair Marnell

Why Gore Verbinski May Be the Right Man to Direct Gambit

For years, Fox has tried and tried to make a Gambit movie into a reality. The Ragin' Cajun has been one of the most popular X-Men since the ‘90s, but you wouldn’t know it from the way that he loses directors like most people lose pins. Both Rupert Wyatt and Doug Liman signed on at different points, and both eventually went running in the opposite direction. Keep in mind, this is a movie that’s had Channing Tatum signed to play Gambit for years, and they still couldn’t attract and hold an A-list talent behind the camera. At least until now.

Deadline is reporting that director Gore Verbinski is negotiating a deal with Fox to take over the Gambit feature film. And you know what? That might be the smartest thing that Fox has done since they made Deadpool and Logan into R-rated movies. Turning Gambit into a character who can hold down his own movie isn’t going to be easy, even with Tatum in the title role. But the one thing that Verbinski can easily do is make the Gambit movie fun. It doesn’t have be super violent like Logan, and it doesn’t have to be as serious as the X-Men movies. A Gambit movie can just be about a charismatic thief who goes on high adventures.

Does that sound familiar? It should, because Verbinski directed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films that turned Captain Jack Sparrow into an internationally beloved icon. Leaving aside any comparisons between Johnny Depp and Tatum, that’s a feat that Fox desperately needs for this movie. It’s only been a decade since Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit -- whom you probably already forgot -- was on the silver screen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We’re sure that Fox would have loved to have had Kitsch star in his own films. But only Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman got second chances after that movie. 

Whether you think the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are great adventure tales or popcorn cinema is irrelevant. The most important aspect is that audiences loved them. They loved Jack Sparrow, they loved the sequels, and they made a franchise out of a freakin’ theme park ride! You know, the Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t even really have a backstory until the film came along. Now it’s all Captain Jack Sparrow, all of the time, even in the original ride. At least Gambit has decades of comic book stories to fall back on.

That said, it may be a good idea for Verbinski to steer clear of Gambit’s somewhat convoluted origin story. The Thieves and Assassins Guilds of New Orleans might make for some decent sequel material, but they aren’t as interesting as Gambit himself. The joy of watching Gambit in action is that he’s such a scoundrel that you kind of love and hate him at the same time. Again, that’s a very Jack Sparrow trait, that Verbinski could easily replicate (as he has in movies like The Weather Man and Rango). Above all else, the Gambit move has to be entertaining, if it has any hopes of becoming a franchise. Verbinski can do that, and if he signs on, Gambit will be in good hands.

Images: Marvel, Disney