Talking about casting choices is one of my favorite things to do. People have been dissing this choice since the rumor first leaked and now that it has been confirmed, people have been blowing up my Facebook newsfeed with statuses about this choice. I was one of those unhappy with the choice of an on-screen stripper playing one of my favorite mutants, but as I thought about it more, the more the choice grew on me. I know, I’m taking a different approach with an article about casting choices. I like to change things up once and a while.
Most fans that I have spoken to agree that Taylor Kitsch was not cut out for the role in that train wreck of a movie that was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” While he was far from the worst part of that movie, he certainly did not do justice to the Ragin’ Cajun. My biggest complaint had to be his accent. I’m quite secure in saying that one of Gambit’s powers is not the superhuman ability to fail at maintaining an accent. He went from vaguely Southern, to a splash of Cajun, back to vaguely Southern mixed with French, then landed on a solid Midwestern accent. It was very distracting and took away from his portrayal of the character.
Now, one thing I know Channing Tatum will nail will be the accent, which eliminates my biggest complaint of the previous on-screen portrayal. Tatum is from the south and naturally has a Southern accent that he alters to sound more Midwestern. Also, much like Remy LeBeau, Tatum grew up in the bayous near the Mississippi River, so he can bring his background to the character and add some authenticity. That is important, since LeBeau is very proud of his Southern heritage.
Appearance is another factor to consider. Tatum is considerably larger in build than Kitsch, but Gambit has been drawn both ways, so either physical representation would be accurate to the character’s appearance. Kitsch fit the more svelte image, while Tatum fits the broader, bulkier image. Gambit in Exiles, and even some traditional “X-Men” artwork, he is shown much broader than Kitsch’s on-screen representation.
Tatum is known for being physically imposing, so he would fit the broader depictions of the character. Especially, if they are following the Age of Apocalypse storyline with the upcoming “X-Men” movie, since Gambit is transformed into Death, one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, who is quite large and imposing. I mean, he is Death after all, a character with a pretty intimidating presence, which Tatum would convey well.
The only thing that makes me a little nervous is looking at Tatum’s past roles. He has typically played a jock-type funny man with a heart of gold, something Remy LeBeau really is not. While Gambit does his fair share of wisecracking, he is far from the jock of the “X-Men” universe. I guess I will just have to see how it turns out like everyone else. There is one thing for sure though, it can’t be worse than “Origins.”