Lizzy Caplan has entered talks to costar in Gambit as the X-Men spinoff film's female lead, opposite Channing Tatum as the Ragin' Cajun himself. With production on Gambit gearing up to begin in early 2018 under the direction of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lone Ranger helmsman Gore Verbinski (in order to make a February 2019 release date), this should be the first of several casting announcements to come for the Marvel comic book-based project.
Tatum has been attached to play Remy Etienne LeBeau - a thief and mutant armed with a Cajun accent and the ability to control kinetic energy - in a Gambit movie set in 20th Century Fox's X-Men cinematic universe for years now. After going through a number of director switch-ups and getting a complete script overhaul in the aftermath of Deadpool and Logan's success in order to better emulate their approach to blending X-Men properties with different genres and tones, Gambit is now closer than it's ever been to actually starting production. That also means that Caplan's casting should actually stick, assuming that she closes her deal to join Fox's big screen mutants franchise.
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Variety is confirming that Caplan is in talks to play Gambit's female lead, though details on her role are being kept under-wraps beyond that. However, it is believed that the character in question (referred to as "Mariya" in the official Gambit casting call) is that of Bella Donna Boudreaux, a character that Léa Seydoux was recruited to play in an earlier iteration of the project.
Bella Donna Boudreaux is a character who, in the world of the X-Men comic books, Remy meets as a child and becomes friends with, only for them to grow up and become members of rival criminal guilds. While it has not yet been confirmed that Bella will be in the Gambit live-action film, the description of the movie's female lead ("Tall, stunning and willowy, a Parisian glamour girl") certainly fits the typical portrayal of the character. Moreover, the "John Wick meets Romeo & Juliet" nature of Bella and Remy's love story is ripe for exploration on the big screen, especially in a film that aspires to really distance itself from the rest of the superhero movie crowd.
Caplan herself is no stranger to portraying fascinating and complicated women either, having played the real-life human sexuality pioneer Virginia Johnson for all four seasons of Showtime's Masters of Sex TV series. Although she has worked on a handful of noteworthy films in recent years (including this December's buzzed about Tommy Wiseau memoir, The Disaster Artist), Gambit would allow Caplan to co-headline such a film for the first time. Caplan was also on the shortlist to play Domino in the Deadpool sequel at one point, so she has clearly been interested in joining the X-Men cinematic universe for awhile now.
Regardless of which character she ends up playing, Caplan would be another great addition to the Gambit spinoff movie. The project itself continues to show signs of being yet another intriguing addition to Fox's X-Men franchise with this development, joining next year's horror-flavored installment The New Mutants and the now-in-development Multiple Man spinoff on the fronline of X-Men movies attempting to evolve the idea of what it even means to be a "superhero movie".
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020