The troubles continue for the much-anticipated but long-delayed Gambit movie, which now could be on the hunt for a new director.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt has reportedly left the film, citing a conflict with the project’s shift to a later production schedule. The X-Men spinoff movie was expected to begin filming in New Orleans next spring.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, some late changes in the script for Gambit were expected to extend the shooting schedule, pushing the project into conflict with Wyatt’s upcoming projects. The need to schedule the film around Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans was also a factor in shifting the production timeline, the site reports.
Wyatt himself later confirmed the report and thanked 20th Century Fox for the opportunity.
“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,” said Wyatt in an official statement. “I thank them for the opportunity, and I know that Gambit will make a terrific film.”
Set to star Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike) as the titular mutant thief with an affinity for playing cards, Gambit also has Blue is the Warmest Color and SPECTRE actress Lea Seydoux attached to star opposite Tatum in the film. Seydoux is rumored to be playing Bella Donna Boudreaux, Gambit’s love interest and (in the Marvel Comics continuity) the daughter of the leader of the Guild of Assassins.
Wyatt’s departure follows a report back in July that Tatum was poised to leave the film, only to eventually reach a deal with the studio that had him stay on as the star and co-producer.
Featuring a script by RoboCop writer Josh Zetumer and Gambit co-creator Chris Claremont, the film is expected to provide an origin story of sorts for the popular X-Men character who debuted in 1990. A mutant with the power to “charge” inanimate objects with explosive kinetic energy, Gambit (a.k.a. Remy LeBeau) had his big-screen debut in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by John Carter star Taylor Kitsch.
Gambit is currently scheduled to hit theaters October 7, 2016, but is now expected to be pushed back to a later date.