Good news for Warner Bros., bad news for Fox?
Director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) has abandoned Fox's Gambit, still starring Channing Tatum, for the DC project Justice League Dark, Variety reported yesterday. Perhaps anticipating Marvel's Dr. Strange, the film will explore fringe supernatural characters in the DC universe like John Constantine (played by Keanu Reeves in 2005's Constantine), Deadman, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Madame Xanadu and Shade, the Changing Man.
Guillermo del Toro had signed on to develop and direct the film in 2012, but left it for other projects in 2015. It's a fairly new entry in the universe; DC started publishing the series in 2011 with rotating characters also including Swamp Thing (yes, that titular creature from Wes Craven's 1982 film starring Adrienne Barbeau). In the del Toro-helming time frame last year, Colin Farrell was rumored to be the front-runner to play Constantine, the central figure in the movie.
The announcement comes as the latest setback for Gambit, which has suffered its well-publicized share of problems since its inception. Fans started off protesting the casting of Tatum, who late in 2015 was himself rumored to be dropping out over salary agreements. Earlier that year, Warner Bros. was said to have approached directors including Darren Aronfsky and Gareth Evans, but was turned down by everyone until Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) signed on in summer of 2015. He exited in the fall, citing "scheduling conflicts," but rumors swirled that there were script and budget conflicts and Wyatt wasn't totally on board. The script in fact has been undergoing rewrites by Magic Mike writer Reid Carolin since the release date changed from October 2016 to… well, who knows, now that they need to find a new director.
For now, Liman sounds like a good, solid choice to fill del Toro's shoes on the mystical Justice League Dark, which has no production schedule as of yet.