After dodging a major bullet not too long ago, the production of 20th Century Fox's Gambit standalone film is back on track. Channing Tatum has finally signed on to play X-Men fan-favorite Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes helmsman Rupert Wyatt lined up to direct. The film remains on schedule for an October 2016 release.
With the release date fast approaching (in movie terms), now is a better time than ever to start filling out Tatum's supporting cast. Today gave us a Gambit casting update, revealing a shortlist of actresses said to be testing for the role of Belladonna Boudreaux.
Deadline is reporting that Fox will begin conducting tests for the part next week. They allegedly have their eyes on the likes of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation standout Rebecca Ferguson, Spectre Bond girl Léa Seydoux, and Mad Max: Fury Road actress Abbey Lee. As of now, there's no word on which lady may be the frontrunner for the role.
For those not in the know, Belladonna is one of the most important characters in the Gambit mythos. In the comics, she befriended Remy when the two were children. They unknowingly came from rival guilds (Remy the Thief, Belladonna the Assassin), and as they grew older the antagonism between the two groups increased. In an effort to unite the Guilds, Remy and Belladonna were subjected by their fathers to an arranged marriage. The event ended in tragedy when, in a fit of rage, Belladonna's brother Julien challenged Remy to a fight to the death (a fight Julien lost).
For fans, the hot choice for the role may be Ferguson, who turned many heads thanks to her impressive turn as Ilsa Faust in Rogue Nation, showing she could be Tom Cruise's equal in terms of action. Seydoux would be an admirable choice as well, as she displayed her tentpole chops before in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (playing the assassin Moreau) and is returning to that realm in Spectre this fall.
If there is a wild card in this group, it's probably Lee - but that's only because her filmography is so limited. She has just two feature film credits to her name, and has yet to showcase the full range of her acting ability. To her credit, she did play one of the Five Wives in this summer's Fury Road, so she is familiar with a project of this scope. Arguably, those roles weren't exactly the most involving, but the Wives got a chance to prove their worth in a fight, meaning Lee wouldn't be out of her element should she get the part.
It will be interesting to see which candidate Fox chooses (or if the production goes with someone else entirely). It's been reported that the budget for this film is in the neighborhood of $150 million, illustrating that the studio has big ideas for it. They obviously see Gambit as a lynchpin for their Marvel franchise, so it would be plausible for them to choose an actor with more experience. If that's the case, someone like Ferguson (who has already played the lead in a big action movie) may have a leg up on her competition. Time will tell.
In the meantime, be sure to tell us what you think of the proposed shortlist, and who your ideal pick for Belladonna would be in the comments section below!
Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7, 2015, followed by Deadpool on February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.