CATEGORIES Interviews
"If he made porn I'd do it. Because that'd be the coolest porn I've ever seen."

Channing Tatum is about one role away from the A-list. The 29-year-old Alabama native has proven he's got the acting chops (see his cred-earning role opposite Shia LaBeouf in 2006's 'A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints') and teen idol worship (after the same year's sleeper hit 'Step Up') sewn up. Now he's a regular in internet casting rumors, from the remotely possible (he'll play Captain America) to the absurd (he'll remake 'The Bodyguard' with Rihanna).

Or maybe Tatum is three roles away; that's how many high-profile flicks he'll be seen in over the next four months. The first is this week's 'Fighting,' a reunion with 'Saints' director Dito Montiel in which Tatum plays an underground street brawler in New York who's mentored by hustler Terrence Howard.

Then he'll appear opposite Hollywood heavyweights Christian Bale and Johnny Depp in July's 'Public Enemies' before playing a Real American Hero in August's big-screen 'GI Joe' extravaganza. We asked Tatum about real-life fistfights, headline-making co-stars like LaBeouf, Bale and Sienna Miller ... and those persistent 'Captain America' rumors.


Channing Tatum is about one role away from the A-list. The 29-year-old Alabama native has proven he's got the acting chops (see his cred-earning role opposite Shia LaBeouf in 2006's 'A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints') and teen idol worship (after the same year's sleeper hit 'Step Up') sewn up. Now he's a regular in internet casting rumors, from the remotely possible (he'll play Captain America) to the absurd (he'll remake 'The Bodyguard' with Rihanna).

Or maybe Tatum is three roles away; that's how many high-profile flicks he'll be seen in over the next four months. The first is this week's 'Fighting,' a reunion with 'Saints' director Dito Montiel in which Tatum plays an underground street brawler in New York who's mentored by hustler Terrence Howard.

Then he'll appear opposite Hollywood heavyweights Christian Bale and Johnny Depp in July's 'Public Enemies' before playing a Real American Hero in August's big-screen 'GI Joe' extravaganza. We asked Tatum about real-life fistfights, headline-making co-stars like LaBeouf, Bale and Sienna Miller ... and those persistent 'Captain America' rumors. -- By Kevin Polowy

How did 'Fighting' come about?
This was actually a basketball film at first. I'd done ['A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints'] with Dito, and he said, "Look I love this film because there's an opportunity to bring 'Midnight Cowboy,' or the characters in that movie, back to the city in a commercial way. You know, Joe Buck and Ratso. I'd love to play Joe Buck from 'Midnight Cowboy,' especially Dito's version of 'Midnight Cowboy'. So it was still about basketball, then finally, after weeks and weeks of trying to do the basketball film, the basketball just kept getting more violent and more violent. We said, let's just make this a movie about fighting. I suck at basketball [laughs]. And there was some deliberation and some debate and then it finally just got made, and it became a fighting movie.

You hit it big with 'Step Up' -- be honest, were you drawn to the fact that this subject matter is like the polar opposite?
[Laughs] I don't know. I don't think I ever even thought about 'Step Up' when I was thinking about doing this one. It was more just about characters. And I've been a literal big fan of Terrence Howard's longer than I've been acting, as long as I can remember. And then he was interested in working with Dito. And Dito I would do the phone book with. If he made porn I'd do it. Because that'd be the coolest porn I've ever seen.

What is your porn name then?
First pet and street name, right? Bear Bloom.

Did Terrence Howard rap for you at all on set?
No, he didn't, but he sang for me. I don't know if you heard his album or not. He's actually an incredible artist, rapping was just what he did in ['Hustle & Flow'] because that's what it called for, but he has this amazing voice, and he's also an amazing guitarist and great songwriter.




So did you get into many fights in preparation for the movie, and is there one fight you remember?
[Laughs] I probably wouldn't have even made it to filming if I had. But, yeah I've had my fair share of scraps. But I'm not a tough guy or a street fighter for real. I'm just an actor. I went to Legends [Mixed Martial Arts Training Center] here in Los Angeles, and Jeremy Williams was my coach, and he just beat me up for a good month and a half ... I know I will never wear sandals now anywhere. I got in a fight in the back of a grocery store when I was really young, like 14 or something. And I remember my feet were so torn up afterwards because I lost my sandals in the middle of the fight. My toenail was missing. It just sucked.

Who are some actors in Hollywood that you look up to?
A lot of the ones I've admired forever aren't acting anymore, like Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. But now I guess I would have to say there are the Brad Pitts and the Leonardos and the Hugh Jackmans, just people that I respect. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sean Penn to me are the two best actors of all time. I'm just glad to have the pleasure to be in an era that they're acting while I'm acting. They're probably the best actors in my mind.

Do you ever get stalked by rabid 'Step Up' fans?
[Laughs] No. One has showed up to my house once. That was it, though. You know, I'm not there yet ... He just kind of came up and knocked on the door. I came out, signed some stuff and then he left. That was it. He was nice enough, he wasn't a weird guy ... Just wanted an autograph.

Do you see much of your 'Saints' co-star Shia LaBeouf?
I don't, actually. I think the last time I saw him, we were at a Super Bowl party for the producer of 'GI Joe,' who produced 'Transformers' as well. But no I don't really see him much. I just hang out separately from where he hangs out. We don't have very many mutual friends I guess, not for any other reason. But I love Shia, he's a great kid.

You co-star with Christian Bale in 'Public Enemies.' Is he as intense as we've heard on the internet?
[Laughs] No, man. Look, he was the nicest, most professional person that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I think that thing was taken totally out of context. I would work with him every single day of my career if I could. I mean, he's an intense guy, he takes his job really seriously. If everyone in town would take their job as seriously as him, there'd be better movies.

Channing Tatum Photos

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Channing Tatum

    Getty Images

    Actor Channing Tatum arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Sugar" held at the Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on March 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. "Sugar" Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet Silver Screen Theater at the Pacific Design Center Los Angeles, California United States March 18, 2009 Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage.com To license this image (57001885), contact WireImage.com

    Lester Cohen/WireImage.com



I don't think many people know what to expect from 'GI Joe.' How would you describe it?
It's a big huge kids' popcorn movie. I was a huge fan, had all the action figures, watched all the cartoons. So I was a fan. And when the movie came along, I couldn't even imagine playing Duke. But low and behold we did it, and I got to stand next to Snake Eyes. I actually wanted to play Snake Eyes (laughs), but they wouldn't let me play him. But I think it's going to be a huge and entertaining film, I think we did it well. Stephen Sommers knows how to make big movies ...

You think it'll have that same playful tone as Sommers' 'Mummy' movies?
Yeah, for sure. It's not like in the vein of 'Batman Begins' or anything like that. Or even as serious as the 'Transformers' movie. 'Transformers' is more in reality than 'GI Joe'... It's not quite as goofy, and funny, as 'The Mummy,' cause I'm not funny. I'm not funny like Brendan Fraser. That's a huge credit to why the films did so well. But I'm not really that kind of an actor. I can't do comedy. Not now at least.

Did you work with Sienna Miller a lot? How did she handle all the action scenes?
Yeah, my whole story is with her. I play Duke and she plays who is to be the Baroness. It's a prequel story in general, so it's kind of how Duke and Ripcord get inducted into the Joes ... She is a lot more athletic than anyone knows. I remember there was one scene where I had to chase her, she's carrying a case that I have to get back. She's running and I had to give her a big head start, so it looks like we're staggered in the race. She starts running, and I'm like, "Oh s*** I really gotta run! She's fast!" She used to run track, I guess. She might look like a little fashion diva, but she's a crazy chick, man.

Is there any truth to the recent internet rumor that you and Rihanna were being considered for a remake of 'The Bodyguard'?
No [laughs]. I don't know who did that, I don't know where it came from, but no, not at all ... You know, I love Rihanna. But in terms of the story, I don't know if that would be interesting to me. I love the first one, I guess, it was good for what it was. But if that's exactly a story I would really want to tell? The first one was kind of funny to me.

You realize you would to get to carry Rihanna.
[Laughs] Which would be incredible, right? She is beautiful. I'm not going to rule it out. I haven't had a chance to meet her, but I know Chris [Brown]. I think they're both incredibly talented kids.

There's also a lot of people lobbying for you to play Captain America. Would that still interest you?
Oh, absolutely I would play Captain America. But I think there's someone else up for it, and I think that actor is a jillion times bigger and probably better for it. I've heard that Will Smith was toying around with it. But I would love to play Captain America, I dig his story.

Fighting' Premiere Photos

    Singer Mary J. Blige attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236216), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Kay Tatum, Channing Tatum and Glen Tatum attend the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com To license this image (16665468), contact WireImage.com

    Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

    Channing Tatum attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com To license this image (16665405), contact WireImage.com

    Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

    Zulay Henao attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236339), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Jenna Dewan attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236319), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Jenna Dewan attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236307), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Jenna Dewan attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236303), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Cung Le attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com To license this image (16665445), contact WireImage.com

    Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

    Actor Channing Tatum attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236282), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Singer Mary J. Blige attends the "Fighting" premiere at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on April 20, 2009 in New York City. "Fighting" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals Regal Union Square Stadium 14 New York, NY United States April 20, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (57236220), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com