rupert wyatt gambit

So often with superhero movies, it becomes a series of “what if’s?” What if this actor had signed on the play Superman? What if this movie had never bombed? But in the case of Gambit, the long-gestating comic book movie is one big case of “what if?”

The film has had a veritable revolving door of directors, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Rupert Wyatt, who first signed on to helm Gambit in 2015. But Wyatt’s ambitious vision for the film was abandoned when the director left the project just a few months later. Now, Wyatt reveals what he had originally planned for his abandoned Gambit movie, and why it could have been like “The Godfather with mutants.” Read more about the lost Rupert Wyatt Gambit movie below.

In an interview with Collider, Wyatt delved into his original plans for Gambit, which he had signed on for in June 2015 with star Channing Tatum. Tatum remains attached to the project and was a huge creative force in Wyatt’s version of the film. As Wyatt explained:

“What I do know is that Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin had an amazing idea of what that movie was going to be, and Josh Zeutemer, the writer, as well. It was terrific, it was a really exciting sort of Godfather with mutants set in the world of New Orleans with different gangs.”

That’s certainly a lofty vision for a superhero movie. The Godfather is one of the greatest American classics of all time, and to condense that into a superhero movie would have been ambitious, to say the least. But superhero movies have proven to be great vehicle for different genres — from Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s paranoid spy thriller to Ant-Man‘s heist movie. Why couldn’t Wyatt make Gambit into a sprawling, moody crime drama?

And it seems that Wyatt’s Gambit would take more cues from The Godfather than simply its genre. Wyatt expanded on his plans, revealing that the film would have been partially set in the 1970s and contain a heist.

“Yeah [a heist film] of a sort. I mean it was a period film. It dealt with the ’70s up until the present day. It was about kind of mutant gangs and the notion of what it means to belong, tribalism in this bayou-like environment. The swamps of New Orleans. So it would’ve been a lot of fun. I know Channing sort of worked on the script to make it into more of a romantic comedy, I think. Which I read and it was great, it was very different to what I was involved in. But now Disney have the reins so I don’t know what their plans are.”

Wyatt would eventually leave the film, with Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski subsequently trying and failing to bring Gambit to life. But in the interview with Collider, which I encourage you to read in its entirety, Wyatt finally explained why he exited the project.

Fantastic Four came out, did not do very well for Fox, [and] they decided to lower our budget. We were 12 weeks out, we couldn’t recover. The script needed a huge amount of rewriting in order to fit that budget, and ultimately the powers that be chose not to go down that road, so the film didn’t happen.”

Basically, as we do for all things, blame Fantastic Four.

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