Casting Gambit Origins

Word came out relatively recently that Fox’s Gambit movie is still a go, and A-lister actor/professional good looking guy/exquisite dancer Channing Tatum is still attached.  Since this movie has yet to land a new director and more than likely won’t hit theaters until 2042, I figured I was okay to go ahead and “fan cast” it myself, hoping Fox will take a look at this and give me a shot in the near (see: the next decade) future….

NOTE: I have decided that some characters have multiple actors/actresses that could hypothetically kick royal ass as distinct variations of a character, therefore some are given the “two thespian treatment.” I used to be the “oh, that’s not comic book accurate!” guy, but
1. I’m not as big of a dick as I used to be, and
2. I’ve come to realize that it really doesn’t matter what a character might look like, as long as the essence, spirit, and je ne sais quoi of that character still comes across…and as long as that character KILLS that role (Hugh Jackman’s “Wolverine”, anyone?)  So, let us get started, shall we?

X-Men: Gambit: Complete Collection. Volume1. How can it be complete if there is more than one volume?

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Remy LeBeau/Gambit

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Gaspard Ulliel

The French model/actor looks like the Rajun Cajun come to life, and had been my sole choice for Remy LeBeau for a long time.  Best known to American audiences as a young Hannibal Lecter in the critically panned Hannibal Rising (or the Blue Chanel commercials), the young Frenchman has the look, charm and accent to put a traditional spin on the fan favorite character, portraying Gambit in the vein of the 92 X-Men Animated Series, or as he has often been portrayed in the comics over the last 2 and 1/2 decades.  Ulliel has long been a front runner in many fan castings for the role, and although not a household name here in the States, he could be the closest thing to a live action carbon copy of Remy Lebeau.

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Daveed Diggs

About a month ago, film and television contributor for Entertainment Weekly & Forbes (as well as others) Rebecca Theodore tweeted out her desire to see Daveed Diggs in the title role of a Gambit film, and with that single tweet my brain nearly exploded out of my ears at how rich this possibility was (and gave me the idea for this article.  So, thank you Rebecca!).  The Tony award winner for originating the duel role of Thomas Jefferson & Marquis de Lafayette in the cultural phenomenon known as Hamilton drips with the smooth charm, swagger and bravado necessary to take on such a role.  The talented actor/rapper might be a newcomer to some, but his skills on the stage and with a mic would translate into a one of a kind iteration of the Thief of Hearts.

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Bella Donna Boudreaux

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Nathalie Emmanuel

Many would assume that if I were to recommend a cast member from Game of Thrones for the role of Gambit’s Juliet, his first love & wife Bella Donna Boudreaux, I would pick the “Mother of Dragons” herself.  Nay, I say! Nay!  For me, the young actress, recognizable from her roles in Game of Thrones and the Fast & Furious franchise, embodies everything Bella Donna is: beautiful, classy, and completely believable as a member of the Assassin’s Guild, as she’s already used to playing bad ass female characters.

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Léa Seydoux

I’m not sure if it counts as a fan casting if you pick someone who actually HAS the role already, but since the movie is still in its most infant stages, I’m going to do it anyways.  Léa Seydoux blew up on the world stage with roles in 007 Spectre, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the controversial French film Blue is the Warmest Color.  She has the looks and attitude to give a convincing portrayal of a young girl who not only grew up in the Assassin’s Guild of New Orleans, but is the daughter of the it’s leader.

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 Jean Luc LeBeau

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Sean Bean

…Because Sean Bean should be in everything.  The star of Game of Thrones, 007: Goldeneye and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is an actor who truly seems to embody his roles.  As the leader of the Thieves Guild, and Gambit’s adopted father, the role requires gravitas and goodness, darkness and forgiveness.  Bean would wreck this role.

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Julien Boudreaux

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Known worldwide as Jaime Lannister, the incestuous knight with a heart of…well, at least silver…Coster-Waldau is pitch perfect to play sibling to Bella Donna, a loving brother & deadly assassin who’s none too fond of one Remy LeBeau.  The showdown between the two is this saga’s defining moment, requiring actors who can do “the heavy lifting.”  Anyone who has seen Game of Thrones knows Coster-Waldau can carry a scene…

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Need to catch up on Gambit before this thing gets going? Here’s a good place to start.

Jesse Williams

…and speaking of carrying a scene.  Now, I’m not admitting to watching Grey’s Anatomy religiously with my wife, and I’m not admitting that Jesse Williams’ Dr. Jackson Avery is my favorite character on the show, but I heard that this dude essentially radiates charisma while on screen.  Who better to opposite our charming lead then a man who can theoretically “out charm” him?  For Gambit’s foil, you need somebody who is never below him, always his equal, to show the gravity of the situation between them.  I heard…from someone who watches his show every week like clockwork…he’d be perfect for the role.

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Marius Boudreaux

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Vincent Cassel

Best known to American audiences for his roles in Black Swan, Ocean’s 12, Jason Bourne Eastern Promises, the highly regarded French actor is a no-brainer for the head of the Assassin’s Guild and father to Bella Donna & Julien.  Granted, he played a master thief in Ocean’s 12, so I SUPPOSE I should’ve made him the head of the Thieves Guild, but I’m on a roll with this article and, by God, I can’t stop now.  Truthfully, he could play the janitor at a bar in New Orleans, and the movie would be better because he was a part of it.

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Candra

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Natalie Dormer

Okay, it might seem as if I’m just recasting most of the actors in Game of Thrones, and while part of that is probably (see: mostly) true, I can’t help it when these actors or actresses are meant for a role!  Case in point, Natalie Dormer is perfect for the immortal mutant known as Candra, as she can make evil look good.  Candra has a centuries old deal with the Thieves & Assassins Guilds broken by the Man of Steal (no really, that’s one of his nicknames. Dammit, Gambit is awesome), so naturally her and Remy are not on the best of terms.  Fiery and talented, Dormer could be just the right fit for this part.

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Dr. Nathaniel Essex/Mr. Sinister

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Sterling K. Brown

We talked a bit earlier about actors/actresses who can carry a scene.  I should have reserved that argument for this gentleman right here, because anyone who has seen his portrayal of Christopher Darden in The People Vs. OJ Simpson: An American Crime Story, or as Randall in the best show on television at the moment, This is Us, knows that Sterling K. Brown is the epitome of a scene stealer.  Dr. Nathaniel Essex, also known as the brilliantly evil Mr. Sinister, would need to be played by an actor of extremely high caliber.  He’s the mastermind behind Gambit’s most dastardly and haunting moment, and at the end of the day, he’s still a villain you love to hate because he’s smarter, he’s better, than those around him.  Brown is my only choice for this role, because
a. He’s my favorite actor on the planet right now,
b. I want to see him in every TV show/movie ever and
c. He can carry this role, making it iconic in the way Tom Hiddleston made the MCU’s Loki, or the way Heath Ledger’s Joker is the standard to reach in a villainous role.

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Anna Marie/Rogue

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Sophia Bush

All you need to do is watch 10 minutes of Chicago PD to see that this former One Tree Hill actress has turned into a performer worthy of carrying a hardcore, no nonsense character.  As Detective Erin Lindsey, she portrays a woman who’s come from a rough life, turned it around, and has become a beacon of hope and strength for those around her.  Also, she’ll kick your ass.  She’s PERFECT for the Juliet (wait…didn’t I use this analogy already?) to Gambit’s Romeo.
Also: The first time I heard her speak, her raspy voice immediately gave me flashbacks to the ’92 X-Men Animated Series’ version of Rogue, and she’s been my lock for the role ever since.

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Victor Creed/Sabretooth

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Jason Momoa

Uhhhhhhh, do I really have to explain this one?  Just look at that picture.  Yeah, I get it, he’s Aquaman now, but holy hell, that man scares the bejesus out of me…but in a way in which I also think he’s super cool…but yeah, still really scary.  I actually really enjoyed the Liev Shreiber version in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but Momoa might actually be Sabretooth.  Plus, have you ever seen that guy crush a Guinness or throw an axe??  Yeah, he’s awesome…but yeah, in a scary way.

Lots of Sabretooth here.

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Thanks to everyone who read this entire piece.  It was a lot of fun to write, praying it was at least half (40%?) as fun to read.  Let me know what you thought of the fan casting, and who you’d like to see in these roles! Leave me a comment below.

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Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time husband, full time Dad & full time superhero enthusiast.  Yes, the above tattoo belongs to him, in all its geeky glory.

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