Af­ter a trou­bled time as a kid and jobs as roofer, male strip­per and model, ac­tor Chan­ning Tatum has emerged as one of the true movie stars of his gen­er­a­tion.

Men's Style (Australia) - - Contents -

Chan­ning Tatum is prov­ing he’s much more than eye candy

Er, yes, that’s him. Chan­ning Tatum. The open­ing quote is a sum­mary of the re­ac­tion we got when we showed any­one over the age of about 37 the photo on this is­sue’s cover.

For any­one un­der that age, recog­ni­tion was far more in­stant. They’ve grown up with the guy. Sure, there was the torso-led fame of Magic Mike, and Magic Mike XXL, but ear­lier, there was Tyler in dance movie Step Up, Jenko in 21 Jump Street, Duke in GI Joe, and even much ear­lier, young An­to­nio in the highly praised if rarely seen A Guide To Recog­nis­ing Your Saints.

Point be­ing, Chan­ning Tatum is “next-gen”. The new breed, even though he’s been around a decade or more now. Our friends at Esquire dubbed him, “the first hon­est-to-god movie star of his gen­er­a­tion”.

And that’s be­cause be­yond the pecs, and the god­given jaw­line, and the all-round hy­per-mas­cu­line, al­pha male ap­pear­ance, this Tatum chap can re­ally act.

Watch him in Magic Mike, closely. The scenes where he’s not rip­ping his clothes o•, we mean. Like when he’s in the bank try­ing to get them to loan him money, pre­tend­ing he’s any­thing but a strip­per. The not in­con­sid­er­able bal­anc­ing act, per­for­mance-wise, of try­ing to con­vey cock-sured­ness, vul­ner­a­bil­ity and fear all at once. Tatum man­ages it. He’s con­vinc­ing.

The story goes he was an over­ac­tive and at times “trou­ble­some” kid (that’s the word the pro­files of him most favour when de­scrib­ing his youth), orig­i­nally from Alabama be­fore the fam­ily moved to Tampa, Florida. His dad fixed roofs and his mum worked for an air­line. Chan­ning was good at sport, size­able for his age, and con­sid­ered play­ing foot­ball at higher lev­els. He wres­tled, did mar­tial arts, and also learned to dance.

An un­suc­cess­ful pe­riod at Col­lege in West Vir­ginia fol­lowed school, af­ter which Chan­ning moved back home and be­gan work­ing as a male strip­per – the re­al­life ma­te­rial for the Magic Mike char­ac­ter. Even­tu­ally

“He’s the guy in that strip­ping movie, right? The one who dropped his pants in that movie…”

‘I learned how to act in au­di­tions… read­ing for Thug Num­ber Two or Thug Num­ber One.’ Chan­ning Tatum

he moved out to Los An­ge­les, ap­par­ently with­out any firm idea of what he’d do there.

“I didn’t do much when I first got there,” he told Esquire’s Tom Chiarella for the magazine’s cover story on Tatum in De­cem­ber 2014. “I was a roofer for a while. It was mostly long days and hours, and hours at night spent in dance clubs. I mostly learned to dance by hang­ing out in clubs and grind­ing on girls. Women, cars, al­leys. Fun one night, then ugly, too. Then I started mod­el­ing. And the travel sched­ule, the food, the de­mands brought things to­gether for me. That was a full day, with ex­pec­ta­tions ev­ery day. I’d never had that. Sud­denly, ev­ery hour of the day was ac­counted for. Busy. And I never want to be with­out that again.”

Cam­paigns for the likes of Aber­crom­bie & Fitch, Dolce & Gab­bana, Sean John and Ar­mani fol­lowed, while in be­tween Tatum hit the LA au­di­tion cir­cuit. He’d had a taste of the screen when he danced in Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” video in 2000, but when he was cast in the 2005 Sa­muel L. Jack­son ve­hi­cle Coach Carter, about a high school bas­ket­ball coach, the film ca­reer of the former tradie, strip­per and ath­letic prodigy had now shifted to drive.

“I learned how to act in au­di­tions, not even in movies, but by read­ing for Thug Num­ber Two or Thug Num­ber One,” Tatum told Van­ity Fair. “You’re try­ing to learn by read­ing three lines and hop­ing that you get the part.”

His physique and “fat neck from play­ing foot­ball” meant Tatum was never likely to be o—ered lawyers and bankers as roles, but he con­tin­ued to im­press as the mus­cle through a se­ries of films both good and bad in the next few years, earn­ing the at­ten­tion of crit­ics and the praise of co-stars.

“There’s no van­ity with Chan,” his co-star in Dear John, Amanda Seyfried, once told De­tails magazine. “That’s the first thing that struck me about him. I saw this in­tensely good-look­ing guy, and I ex­pected some van­ity. But he’s not like that at all. He’s not afraid to be em­bar­rassed, not afraid to look stupid. One of the rea­sons he’s such a good ac­tor is that he’s not afraid of any­thing.”

The role which truly showed the po­ten­tial of Chan­ning Tatum was the 2014 film Fox­catcher, play­ing real-life US Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz. Tatum’s phys­i­cal yet emo­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble per­for­mance op­po­site the bril­liant Mark Ru—alo was a stand-out, and ev­i­dence that while ear­lier he may have been re­garded as “eye­candy”, there was much more than meets the eye.

“I’d come to this place where I didn’t want to just keep do­ing parts be­cause I think the movies will do well,” he told Van­ity Fair. “I want to do char­ac­ter work. I still like all the movies I’ve done … but with Fox­catcher I went deeper. I be­came ob­sessed with every­thing about [Schultz], even the way he holds a fork… I’ve never dab­bled in a sport that is more su—ocat­ing than freestyle wrestling. You have an op­po­nent star­ing you in the face, try­ing to dom­i­nate you. It’s fear-driven. You don’t want every­thing you’ve worked for to go away in a second.”

A sen­ti­ment which per­haps de­scribes his ca­reer, not that there’s any fear of that hap­pen­ing for the fore­see­able fu­ture. Re­cently seen on Aus­tralian screens, first in the lat­est Quentin Tarantino flick The Hate­ful Eight and then the Coen Broth­ers retro Hol­ly­wood take, Hail, Cae­sar!, Tatum has a raft of work com­ing up, in­clud­ing lead billing for the se­quel to Kings­man: Se­cret Ser­vice, Kings­man: The Golden Cir­cle, op­po­site act­ing young gun Taron Eger­ton.

Clearly the roles he’s se­cur­ing are chang­ing as his re­sume length­ens. O— screen he has been mar­ried to Jenna De­wan since 2005 – who he met on the set of the dance film, Step Up – and they have a daugh­ter, Everly. Life is in a good place for the kid who was once di­ag­nosed with ADHD and dys­lexia. And his am­bi­tion has not been sated yet.

“I would, in the end, like to know that I’ve made at least one movie that will stand the test of time, that will be up there with the work of the peo­ple I grew up watch­ing.”

‘I’d come to this place where I didn’t want to just keep do­ing parts be­cause I think the movies will do well.’

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