For a very long time Channing Tatum was for me the cute guy from the Step Up movies. I never actually saw any of the Step Up movies (although I’m guessing I would like them because I’m a sucker for movies like that) but that didn’t stop me from type casting Tatum. He’s cute, he’s charming, he can dance. He’ll be replaced in a few years by someone younger and maybe even cuter.
But that’s not what happened. First Tatum landed a role in Michael Mann’s John Dillinger film Public Enemies. This was interesting to me because I really admire Mann as a director, clearly he saw something in Tatum beyond “the Step Up” guy. Next came a much larger role in G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (2009) which was a hit at the box office. In 2010 he starred in the romance Dear John opposite Amanda Seyfried. OK now he’s in romantic movies and action thrillers, interesting.
Channing then fell off my radar again until 2012 when he starred in both 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike. I was sure 21 Jump Street, a reboot of a somewhat ridiculous 80’s TV show, would bomb. But it didn’t. It did well at the box office and with critics. Apparently Tatum is also very funny. But what happened next truly changed my perception of Tatum’s career in Hollywood.
Tatum not only starred in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike but served as the inspiration to the film as much of it was loosely based off his own experiences as a male stripper. Soderbergh and Tatum had worked together on the film Haywire the year before Magic Mike was released. I absolutely love that Tatum decided to embrace his stripper past rather than shy away from it as many would. Magic Mike was also a hit with both critics and audiences and made sure the entire world now knew how good Tatum looks with his shirt off.
Since then Tatum has starred in many films including Side Effects, G.I. Joe Retaliation, White House Down, and this Friday’s 22 Jump Street which is already receiving great reviews. But what’s next for Channing Tatum?
Foxcatcher, a film about an Olympic wrestler comes out this Novemeber. Notably Foxcatcher won the best directing award at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. In his review of the film Variety’s Justin Chang said about Tatum, “Always at his best when he can bring his intense physicality to bear on a role (“Magic Mike”), Tatum delivers what is easily the most emotionally complex performance of his career.”
Also in 2014 Tatum voices one of the characters in Guillermo del Toro’s animated film Book of Life. The Wachowski sibling’s sci-fi adventure film Jupiter Ascending, which stars Tatum and Mila Kunis was supposed to open in theaters this summer but was pushed back until early next year. Jupiter has hit or bust written all over it but you have to admire Tatum for taking on such a wide variety of material. Also in 2015 we will see Tatum in Magic Mike XXL, the sequel to Magic Mike.
If that isn’t enough Tatum reportedly will play the X-Men mutant Gambit in a solo movie and is rumored to also appear in X-Men: Apocalypse. Tatum has made it clear he is willing and able to play roles in pretty much any genre of film thrown at him. And he must be delightful to work with as so many top directors are so eager to have him in their films.
And, as noted above, he is ridiculously attractive – which always helps an actors career. But it’s clear that there is much more to Channing Tatum than simply the cute guy from Step Up. I think the best of Tatum’s career is still to come.