James Bond’s Léa Seydoux discusses her cancelled X-Men spinoff

. 1 month ago
Marvel Comics

No Time To Die star Léa Seydoux has opened up about her role in Gambit, Channing Tatum’s X-Men spinoff which was canceled after years of development hell. 

Seydoux recently appeared at the Cannes Film Festival ahead of the release of David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future and Mia Hansen-Løve’s One Fine Morning.

While the actress is best known for her performances alongside Daniel Craig in the James Bond franchise, as well as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Blue is the Warmest Colour, she came close to having another major blockbuster under her belt with Gambit.

The infamous X-Men spinoff endured nearly two decades of on-off development with several directors before it was eventually put out of its misery.

Gambit and Bella Donna
Marvel Comics
Léa Seydoux would have played Bella Donna, Gambit’s main love interest.

Léa Seydoux says Channing Tatum’s Gambit would have been “funny”

Seydoux had beaten out the likes of Rebecca Ferguson and Abbey Lee for the role of Bella Donna Boudreaux, Gambit’s main love interest and leader of the Assassin’s Guild.

While it’s unclear exactly how much the film would have explored her character, in the comics she has astral projection abilities and incredible fighting skills.

Speaking to IndieWire, she recalled: “The script was really good. It had some funny bits in it, but they wanted to make more of a comedy.

“I feel that in America people have more imagination. I have been offered films very very far from what I’ve done and I’m like: ‘Oh. Interesting.’ I love to feel that I can adapt myself. For me, that’s very exotic.”

Why was Gambit canceled?

Gambit was ultimately lost to the ether in the wake of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, effectively torpedoing any larger plans for the studio’s catalog of characters pending their eventual introduction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The idea of a big-screen Gambit was conceived by Bryan Singer for X2, later inspiring Taylor Kitsch’s appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. When the character’s debut wasn’t as well-received as executives hoped, Tatum (who’d been offered the part but couldn’t commit at the time) said he’d be happy to take over.

In 2014, X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner revealed that plans for Tatum to star in a Gambit movie were in motion, with a script even in development.

This was the beginning of a long nightmare for the actor, with several directors turning him down, others (like Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman, and Gore Verbinski) falling away, and that’s before we get to contract renegotiations, slashed budgets and other delays.

In 2019, Tatum expressed interest in directing it himself, but Fox wasn’t keen on the idea. “The studio really didn’t want [Tatum and Reid Carolin] to direct it. They wanted anybody but us, essentially, because we had never directed anything,” he earlier told Variety.

Alas, then came Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, at which point Gambit and the studio’s other Marvel movies were put on hold. Soon after, Gambit was officially cancelled and removed from the release calendar.

Channing Tatum can’t watch Marvel movies because of Gambit

Tatum was left so shaken by the experience of trying to make Gambit that he’s been put off watching any Marvel movies since. “Once Gambit went away, I was so traumatized,” he said.

“I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven’t been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.”

However, he’d still be up for playing the character, even now, if the opportunity arose. “Uh, yeah, I would love to play Gambit. I don’t think we should direct it. I think that was hubris on our part,” he admitted.

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