Channing Tatum on Haywire, G.I. Joe and 21 Jump Street

The star of some of this year's biggest films talks about being Soderbergh's muse, irresponsible gunplay, male stripping and punching Gina Carano.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

 

Channing Tatum goes one on one with Gina Carano in Haywire. He told a press conference that she taunted him into hitting her for real. We went one on one with Tatum later that afternoon and got the full details of his mano a girlo with Carano, and some news on G.I. Joe Retaliation, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike and even The Vow.

 

CraveOnline: How does it feel to be Steven Soderbergh’s muse?

Channing Tatum: [Laughs] I seriously doubt that I’m a muse of his but a collaborator and a partner, that for sure. I think we just really have a lot of fun together. He is a guy, for all his seriousness and very stern browed mental movies that he makes and beautiful films, masterful films, he is a kid. He is a kid when he lets himself be, on the inside. He loves to giggle, he loves to play and I think that if you go on his set, you’ll know why. Everyone is the nicest person you could ever find anywhere. Down from the focus puller to the grips to the teamsters to everybody, everybody’s just the best people you could ask for.

 

Well, you did inspire his next movie.

Yeah, Magic Mike, for sure. We had a beer and I told him that I was a male stripper for eight months. He was like, “That’d make a great movie.” Lo and behold, I don’t even know how many months later, four or five months later, we shook hands over a hot dog and decided I was going to write it with my business partner, Reid Carolin. I just told him what the world was like and Steven was going to direct it and we were going to produce it and we both were going to finance it, so it’s fully our movie.

 

Speak freely, use any language you like. How exactly did Gina Carano taunt you to hit her harder?

She called me a p*ssy. She called me a p*ssy straight to my face.

 

Is that all she said?

Pretty much, yeah. That’s all she needed to say. I didn’t need any more taunting than that. I don’t think she speaks like that all the time but that coming out of a girl’s mouth at me, that was enough. I would never, ever hit a girl. She was asking, literally asking me for it, not taunting me but I was just like, “I can’t do this. I cannot hit you.” But it was all in fun. I know she’s been hit a lot harder than what I could ever hit her, and I wasn’t trying to kill her. I was just trying to break a little candy bottle on her head.

 

In film fights you don’t usually make any contact at all. What did it feel like to actually connect?

Scary. It got easier, weirdly enough. You just start to, I think we only did it twice. It wasn’t like we did it a ton of times and had to beat the crap out of her. She’s one of the most game athletes that I’ve ever gotten to move with. I really mean it. I’ve gotten to move, and when I mean move I mean either dance or fight dance in a movie with a lot of different people now. She’s by far number one or maybe number two. It’s incredible. She’s an insane athlete.

 

What did you learn from her that you can take into your other action roles?

She helped me perfect my leg kick and really taught me how to turn my hip over so that was cool. It’s just a fighting thing. When you kick, you need to really turn your hip over.

 

That’s very specific.

I’m telling you, she’s a technician. Especially female fighting, almost so much more than male fighting because males can get into brute force, but females are just technicians. They’re very, very scientific in the way they do things and they have to have great technique to have power. Even though she’s a powerful girl as it is, her technique is fantastic.

 

Are there girls in ‘G.I. Joe Retaliation’ who can kick your ass?

No. I don’t think so. Oh no, there was a French martial artist. I don’t know, I’ve never really seen her fight. I wasn’t really in any of the scenes that she was in so I don’t really know what her capabilities are. She’s insanely beautiful in her movements, just elegant like I don’t even know. I wish I would’ve stayed to get to watch her fight though, do her scenes. She’s a very good athlete for sure.

 

The Rock and Bruce Willis are awesome, but is it bittersweet that the big guys come in and take some of the lead?

No, no, not at all to me. I’m very, very happy with the arrangement for sure.

 

Is there room for the original team in the sequel?

You’re going to have to watch the movie on that one, sorry.

 

Well the trailer is awesome. Did Jon Chu bring any of his ‘Step Up’ style to it?

I’m sure. I love Jon. Jon has his finger on the pulse of, I don’t want to say pop, but of the youth. I think he brings a youthfulness and an edgy hipness to it that I think the first one didn’t have.

 

And you wanted the sequel to get darker and edgier, right?

Yeah, I don't know if it got darker. I just think it got edgier and more current and hip and it didn’t go so far into the CGI technical world. It really got more, I think Jon uses the words “boots on the ground” to describe it. More hand to hand stuff and just normal guns and normal soldiering.

 

Did you get to do the mountain repelling scene?

I did not. I wish I did. That would’ve been fun.

 

How much action is in ‘21 Jump Street?’

A ton, a ton of action. A lot of fun, really fun stuff. We do a whole car chase scene that we’re running, getting out of cars on the highway. It was pretty fun for me and Jonah. It’s very Bad Boys-ish. We’re yelling at each other and arguing the whole time that we’re being shot at so it’s fun.

 

Are they bad cops to begin with?

I wouldn’t say they’re bad cops. I’d say they’re both very good at what they do and they kind of balance each other out. My character was really good at the fighting. His character’s really good at the analytical smart side. Together we’re the perfect team but we have to be working together to be able to make it work. It’s a romp. We have a great relationship in it, Jonah and I.

 

But pointing your guns at each other, even in play, is pretty irresponsible.

Yeah, it’s one of the most irresponsible gunplay movies that I’ve ever been involved with. I can promise you that, and ever probably will be involved with. I mean, we do some of the dumbest things with weapons that you’ll ever see in a movie.

 

Did you get the cameo everyone’s hoping for?

I don’t know, you’ll have to watch the movie. You’re going to have to watch the movie.

 

With ‘Magic Mike,’ is Alex Pettyfer’s character like you were a t 19?

No, the only thing that I think his character and the real me have in common is that we were 19 years old, we both have sisters and we both played football. Alex’s actual character and how he played it in the movie is nothing like I was at that age. What he does in the movie is nothing like I did. We really did write a character that was specific to his personality in real life. That was really it. We really wanted to foster the things that we saw in him and let him be that person.

 

What is it like playing the mentor at this point?

It’s kind of fun. I got to start younger and I didn’t have any real experience in acting starting out. I had on the job training, I’m still sort of in acting/film school every single job. It’s fun now to start to have younger actors come up that I’ve had a little bit more experience than and that I can help a little bit if I can and give advice.

 

I’m romantic too. Is ‘The Vow’ just brutal?

I wouldn’t say it’s brutal. It’s one of those movies, it’s not going to rip your heart out like certain scenes in The Notebook. The dad scene in Dear John is a special scene to me because it means something to me. It’s just one of those that I cannot believe this is happening. Why is this happening? It’s very frustrating I think. It has a beautiful sort of message in the end. To watch two people that are really so in love when you meet them and they go through a tragedy and it almost turns out that the victim is more the person that didn’t actually get hurt than the person that is hurt. It’s a really weird dichotomy and then it comes around in the end to be a new journey. They’re about to go on three separate rides. It’s complicated. Even though it feels like a cliché sort of story, girl loses memory and guy has to win her back, but I think it’s done really well. Michael [Sucsy] is a really good director. He really thinks about the art of everything down to my shoes, the clothes, what’s being put on the walls to how each word is said. He killed me on my diction because my diction is not the best. I mumble and I don’t finish words and he hammered down on me. I really am happy with the Leo that he got out of me.