Exclusive: Channing Tatum on Magic Mike, The Bitter Pill and Steven Soderbergh

Magic Mike - Channing Tatum

21 Jump Street poster - AustraliaChanning Tatum and Jonah Hill were in Sydney this week promoting the release of Sony’s very funny 21 Jump Street next month, and we were lucky enough to sit down with the two of them and chat about the film and their future projects. Here is a sample of that interview.

Tatum talks about working with Steven Soderbergh, and his forthcoming collaborations with him, Magic Mike, based on his experiences as a stripper, and The Bitter Pill.

We need to thank Sony for the opportunity to talk to the stars, and of course Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill for their time. Also present on the round table were Matt Pejkovic from MattsMovieReviews, Cam Williams of PopcornJunkies, Jessica Chandra of PopSugar and Jorge Duran of Spotlight Report. We will post the full interview closer to the release date.

21 Jump Street is released in Australia on 15 March 2012 from Sony.

On Steven Soderbergh

“I’ve found somebody in a way that I can honestly say that I’ve never worked with anyone on a directorial level that is more collaborative than he is. To be someone that has made as many movies, and as many great movies, as he has, he doesn’t have to be.  He really doesn’t, but I think that’s one of his biggest strengths is that he empowers you – as an actor, as a set designer, as a grip, as a costume designer – to literally take it and run with it”.

“The character I play in Haywire is written very straight…very underdeveloped character. I showed up and I had kind of an idea of what I wanted to do with the idea of him and I just threw out an idea, and he’s like ‘Great, let’s see what that looks like’. There was no questions of like ‘Ok, how do you want to do that?’, he was just…go and do it. So we sort of shaped it from there. It’s unbelievable, I don’t know of any other director I’ve worked with that has that much freedom and sort of self-assured hand with everything, and knows he’s going to find his way through it”.

Magic Mike - Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum and Joe Mangianello

On Magic Mike

When asked about the projects he is most looking forward to, he answered Magic Mike without hesitation. “It’s something that we totally generated ourselves. We’ll always do movies where you’ll jump into a character somebody else has created and be an actor for hire, but it’s just been so special in a way to start it and build it yourself”.

“Then we did something in a way that’s not taboo, but it’s not done a lot. Soderbergh…and I financed it ourselves. We paid for the movie, we put our own skin in the game. We wanted to make it in a way that nobody else could effect what the outcome of the film was. That doesn’t ever happen. Very rarely can you ever make a movie, and not have it be compromised because of what the studios are telling you to do to make money. It’s been odd and kind of interesting do that and have a bunch of different hats on, but it’s just been my favourite thing in the world because we have so much freedom”.

Tatum also spoke about how he came to be involved with the project, and what its current status is: “He called me from Haywire, and I was like ‘I don’t even need to read it’. Whatever. Just tell me where to show up and I did. Over a beer after work on Haywire, when I told him I was a stripper for eight months of my life he laughed his ass off and he was like ‘That would make a great movie’. And I was, yeah I want to make a movie one day. He was like ‘You should write it’ and I was ‘Yeah, I’ll get right on it, Mr. Soderbergh'”, he says laughingly. “Let me start writing. I don’t know how to write”.

“Then cut to like six, seven months later, where me and my business partner Reid Carolin, he wrote it, we financed it, produced it, acted it in. It’s cool. We’re almost done with it now”.

On The Bitter Pill [Update – Renamed: Side Effects]

Channing didn’t give much information on the role, but we know that his part is a quick shoot: “Yeah, I ‘m going to do a little two-week part on his next thing with Rooney Mara and Jude Law”.

Look for more of this interview in the week 21 Jump Street opens.