There’s al­most no bet­ter rea­son to make a movie than to help grow a child’s mind or heart

Warwickshire Telegraph - - SCREEN SHOTS -

YOU might think Chan­ning Ta­tum has been in a lot of films. You might think they in­clude big hits such as Magic Mike, The Hate­ful Eight and Kings­man 2.

But if you ask his five-yearold daugh­ter Everly, he has only been in one, and it is his lat­est an­i­mated project Small­foot.

“I am leav­ing the stuffed an­i­mal around the house just to try and be a lit­tle cooler to her,” the 38-year-old con­fides. “So this is a big thing for me.”

In the film, Chan­ning lends his voice to Migo, a bright young yeti who stum­bles upon some­thing he pre­vi­ously be­lieved did not ex­ist – a hu­man – and who dis­cov­ers there is a world be­yond his snowy vil­lage at the top of a moun­tain above the clouds.

“I ab­so­lutely will do as many an­i­mated movies as I pos­si­bly can now,” Chan­ning en­thuses.

“They are fun but they also have such good hearts. You tell sto­ries for tons of dif­fer­ent rea­sons and I think there’s al­most no bet­ter rea­son to make a movie than to help grow a young child’s mind or heart.”

The film gave the ac­tor the chance to show off his goofi­est side and of­fered him a free­dom to do any­thing he wanted.

“You can al­most do any­thing and some­times it works and com­edy is very much like that,” he says.

“You have got to just throw it and see what hap­pens and not be afraid of be­ing a com­plete fool.

“And that was Migo. He is pretty out there as a char­ac­ter and be­ing able to find my voice in Migo, it’s a sub­tle dif­fer­ence. It’s still me but it’s more of a sort of goofy, op­ti­mistic me.”

He com­pares the film to some of the fa­mous Looney Tunes shorts and the freefalls from im­pos­si­ble heights and thud­ding boul­ders pay homage to the clas­sic car­toons. “One of my favourite things about this movie is it’s such a throw­back to those clas­sics,” Chan­ning says. “There’s a lot of phys­i­cal com­edy. These yetis are just so huge, they’re in­de­struc­tible, yet they’re vul­ner­a­ble in a small, funny way.

“Migo pricks his toe and a tiny bub­ble of blood comes out and he re­acts like he just lost an arm. And there’s a goat that screams. He just screams no mat­ter what hap­pens, and he doesn’t have any other fa­cial ex­pres­sion; just dead­pan and panic. I will laugh at that for­ever.”

See­ing the hu­man, known as the small­foot of the ti­tle, also causes ma­jor drama for Migo, who has been told all his life that they do not ex­ist.

“The yetis run their lives by a se­ries of laws that have been around for­ever,” Chan­ning says.

“One of them states there’s no such thing as a small­foot, so when Migo tries to tell ev­ery­one about find­ing the plane and the small­foot, he is told that what he ex­pe­ri­enced is just not pos­si­ble.

“Migo was con­tent fol­low­ing the rules and had no com­plaints. He wasn’t look­ing to stir up trou­ble.

“But he gets pushed out of the nest, in a way, and what he finds is that there’s real beauty in dis­cov­ery and so much to learn. Af­ter that, it’s im­pos­si­ble to go back.” The hu­man Migo dis­cov­ers is Percy, voiced by James Cor­den, the host of a wildlife TV show who is des­per­ate to boost his ail­ing rat­ings.

Now a par­ent to three chil­dren of his own, the Bri­tish star is also ex­cited to make films that he can show to his fam­ily.

“I con­sider it a real priv­i­lege to be able to go home to them – so much of their lives you are of­ten try­ing to shield them from a lot of what your life may or may not be at cer­tain times.

“Some of the work that you might be do­ing is the stuff that, if it holds up, they will watch it when they’re older.

“But it’s a won­der­ful thing as a par­ent to come home and go, ‘Hi guys, I have done a lit­tle bit in this and I would love to show it to you be­fore it’s in the cinema’.

“It’s a great thing and they re­ally en­joy it and that’s a won­der­ful rea­son to make any­thing if it will put a smile on their faces.”

Migo and Percy’s fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate is one of the scenes in the film likely to put grins on their faces.

To Percy, Migo’s chat sounds like fe­ro­cious roars, while to Migo, Percy’s voice sounds like un­in­tel­li­gi­ble squeaks.

For James, 40, it re­minded him of talk­ing to his youngest daugh­ter Char­lotte, who was born in De­cem­ber 2017.

“When you think about it, peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate with an­i­mals all the time.

“I have a baby, and when I talk to her she just looks at me like I’m a mad­man. Some­how, we find a way to com­mu­ni­cate and this is no dif­fer­ent.

“Percy meet­ing the yetis is no dif­fer­ent than the first time in his­tory any­one set foot on the soil of an­other coun­try. Hu­man or an­i­mal, you’ll find a way.”

What is dif­fer­ent is Percy’s plan to cre­ate a vi­ral video of a yeti that could give him the fame and glory he craves and save his show from the axe.

James says that he ap­proached the role with un­der­stand­ing: “When you don’t have a frame­work of fam­ily and friends, you can lose sight of what mat­ters.

“Percy is com­pletely lack­ing in self-aware­ness. He’s at such a height­ened state of panic, he’s will­ing to roll along with any­thing.”

I have a baby, and when I talk to her she just looks at me like I’m a mad­man. Some­how, we find a way to com­mu­ni­cate and this is no dif­fer­ent

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