“I always look up”Channing Tatum is a self-made star. While his colleagues wait for offers, the 35 year old is reliving his youth head on in the hit film, Magic Mike XXL—and he is isn’t ashamed of it.
THE RED BULLETIN: You worked as a stripper in your youth, an experience you are currently reliving in the Magic Mike films. How desperate does someone need to be to go into this line of work?
CHANNING TATUM: It’s not something I am proud of, but I am not ashamed of it either. It was a crazy time in my life. I was 19 and completely broke, but I didn’t want to ask my parents for money. It was one of the things that I did to earn money. It was a fun time. You just go out and have a blast and do the craziest things you ever imagined possible. I would not recommend it to anybody though. Not a lot people get out of it so it becomes a very slippery slope. I was lucky enough to get out.
Did you do the Full Monty?
No. Not that far. I am not that talented.
What was your favorite costume?
I did an Usher routine from a video he did that was sort of Clockwork Orange inspired where he wore a long trench coat, bowler hat and pants. That was my favorite because it was the most non-cliché. Usually you are a fireman or police officer. I was a boy scout on my first one, which was horribly humiliating.
How do you go from doing that kind of job to becoming a Hollywood star?
I have always known that I was going to work hard on whatever I was going to do. I could not tell you that I was going to be an actor though. I did have something inside of me that knew I could make something great. Whether it was a doggie daycare (I worked in a pet store for a while) or as an actor I knew I could make it great, because I work hard. I am never the most talented actor or the most talented person generally at anything I do, but I can almost guarantee you there is no one that works harder at what I do when I decide to do it. I always look up.
But you landed in show business.
I had no clue whatsoever that acting was even an option at the time. To me acting was what you did in high school on a stage. I fell into modelling when I moved to Miami. My first job was a Pepsi commercial for DJing and I had no idea how to scratch. I faked it, danced behind the tables and got the part. In modelling you are just a manikin, and I fell in love with the idea of putting so much more of myself into something and have an active part in the creation of something. I took [an acting] workshop in New York and found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I am never really satisfied with where I am at. I always know I can do something better and push myself to learn something that will help me [become a better actor]. We wrote Magic Mike and through learning story structure it has helped me become a better actor. I will direct something at the end of the year or beginning of next year—it’s the next step.
You have a two-year-old daughter; has being a father taken the edge off your competitiveness?
Having a kid is the best thing in the world. It puts everything in perspective. Things that mattered don’t matter anymore. It’s not that you don’t care anymore about things you cared about, it just puts things in the right frame. I am definitely still competitive. I have probably even higher hopes and dreams. I am not just doing a movie because it could be fun to do. I am doing it now because I have to do it. If I’m taking time away from my life, my wife and my child, it has to be for a good reason.
Money isn’t one?
Not at all, we don’t have five cars or anything like that. I come from humble beginnings, and I think about that every day. My parents definitely taught me frugal ways of living. I have a great life and a great home and nice car, but I am not out there blinging it up.
Do you miss not having the freedom of times gone by?
Not at all, what am I missing? I don’t have as much time to spend with friends and play FIFA. Even when I was crazy and stripping and all that stuff when I was 19, I still knew I was going to get married and have kids and have the stereotypical sort of life.
How has being a father changed you?
Patience. You have to learn patience. You have this little thing that is constantly taking in new information. It’s like a computer that is downloading new things every time and you have to be really patient and loving with their process. You can’t just be like “Why can’t you eat by yourself?” You show them how to do it and it’s a beautiful thing.
How do you deal with your emotions?
I try not to hide my emotions when I’m unhappy. Jenna [my wife] taught me this. I have become 100 times a better person when I am with her.
You once said that you’ve developed an attraction towards George Clooney
Would you not want to have sex with him?
Not really, to be honest.
You might be 1% of the entire world that wouldn’t want to have sex with George Clooney. He’s a hot man. George Clooney’s the most interesting man in the world. So you might need to jump on the bandwagon! [Laughs]