Exclusive: Comics legend Chris Claremont weighs in on Gambit casting

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Apr 25, 2014, 5:29 PM EDT (Updated)

While writer Chris Claremont was responsible for the storyline that fuels the upcoming Days of Future Past film, he also had a hand in some other big developments for the franchise, including creating some of its most enduring characters. One such progeny? The kinetic energy-wielding mutant Gambit, who rose from a cameo in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 to become one of the most popular comic-book heroes of the past 30 years.

Unfortunately, Gambit's big-screen profile has been limited to a turn by Taylor Kitsch in the mostly forgettable X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Interest in seeing the character on the silver screen was recently given a goose, however, when actor Channing Tatum made some comments that seemed to indicate he'd taken meetings about the possibility of playing the role.

We had the chance to talk to Claremont about Days of Future Past (stay tuned for more from our interview, coming soon), so we took the opportunity to ask him what he thought about the possibility of Tatum taking up Gambit's trench coat and explodey deck of cards. 

Here's what he had to say:

In those terms, I would think Channing would be a wonderful choice...whether that means, in two or three years, some other cool guy might come along. There's a part of me that thinks, 'Hm, 20 years ago, I might have thought Woody Harrelson.' To me, it's a matter of finding who bonds best with the role, in the same way that Hugh has defined Wolverine for everybody in the cinematic audience. 

He also had some thoughts on getting hung up on details like Wolverine's height when it comes to casting movie versions of comics heroes.

The size relationship is accurate, except that in the comic, Logan's 5'1", and Ororo's 6'3". In reality, it's Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. Who cares?

What do you think of Chris Claremont's take? Is Channing Tatum the guy to play Gambit, or is someone else out there better suited? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for more from our conversation with a legend of the comics world.