In case you haven’t heard, Channing Tatum’s latest role is in the animated movie The Book of Life, which is about the Mexican holiday the Day of The Dead. Yes, you read that correctly: Southern actor Channing Tatum is starring in a movie about a Mexican holiday. I know, I was a little skeptical too, but the movie proved me wrong. It’s a really great film that will make you want to learn so much more about this amazing part of Mexican culture. The movie is entertaining, colorful, really cute, and has an awesome story.
In The Book of Life, Channing plays Joaquin, who is in a fierce competition with his best friend Manolo for the love of Maria (voiced by Zoe Saldana). The cool thing about this love triangle story is that Maria isn’t some innocent girl trying to decide between the two – she’s a strong feminist lead who knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Not surprisingly, Channing’s character comes off as funny and heart-warming.
I was so excited for the opportunity to meet and talk to Channing about his role in the movie. I’m a huge fan of Channing – I’m completely obsessed with the Jump Street movies, and I of course appreciated Magic Mike. Guys, I can’t even explain how great Channing was. He is such a nice guy and he comes off as so humble and down-to-earth. He was really funny and he spoke to everyone as if we were all on his same level of awesomeness. Here are 8 facts you never knew about Channing Tatum that I learned during my Saturday with him. Oh, and don’t forget to see The Book of Life – it’s being released this Friday, October 17, and it is definitely worth paying for!
He Thought Chris Pratt Would Have Been Better In 21 Jump Street"I remember when I was going to do Jump Street, I had just worked with Chris Pratt, and I looked at him, and I go, 'Man, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m about to go do a movie that I think you would be a lot better for.' And he was like, 'Really?' We had a conversation about it, but I guess that was my selfish moment, because I went and did the movie. "
He Discusses His Movie Roles With His Wife"It’s weird because my job is to do things that probably wives wouldn't want their husbands to be doing. But she’s cool like that. Our two choreographers on [Magic Mike], they’re dancers so they all know each other, so I work it out with them and then I go and show Jenna for her approval. But she really, she loves stories and movies too. She’s an actress, so she goes and does things that probably husbands wouldn't want their wives doing, too. So it's a nice trade-off. It’s an interesting thing that actors have to deal with, but I don’t know, we’re 10 years into it now. It’s kind of old hat now, we’re past it. I still don’t like seeing her kiss other people, but it’s just how it goes. But I don’t know, she just really wants me to be happy and same with her, if she had to do some part or gets offered a movie that’s going to be hard for me to watch, I don’t want to tell her she can’t do it, it just has to line up with something creatively and emotionally that she would want to do and why she would want to do it." Source: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.com
Magic Mike Means A Lot To Him Personally"She [Jenna Dewan] actually loves Magic Mike, believe it or not. I think for us both... if I was just doing some movie about strippers, then I don’t know, she would probably be like, 'Why do you want to do that?' But it started off as a story that I really loved and it’s grown into something that I even love more. It’s a weird world that I experienced in my real life and I found it wildly interesting, and even though it was a dangerous kind of dark world, it was an experience that I wouldn't trade because I luckily got out of it unscathed. And I think it’s just a part of me telling some part of my life, and she understands that." Source: Euan Cherry/WENN.com
He Has Advice If You're Being Pressured To Do Something By Your Parents:"Communication is probably the greatest tool that you can use there. As a kid, I played football and my dad played football. I wanted to be good because he was good and so on. I think those are lessons you have to learn too. Kids have to sort of learn that they can’t just hear that, 'you gotta do what you want to do, not what they want you to do.' They have to really go and see if that’s something they want to do. they shouldn’t just want to do it because their parents did it, or they shouldn’t not want to do it because their parents did it. They should really go and try to explore it, and it should be okay if they don’t want to do something. I remember I was in martial arts, and there was a time when I wanted to quit. And I didn't want to go to my class that night and my mom was like, 'Look, you can quit if you want, but you said that you were going to go to this class, so you have to go and afterwards you can withdraw if you’d like.' And I ended up staying in it, it was just that I didn’t want to stop playing and go to class. It was really smart of my mom to give me a choice to quit, but I had to honor what I said I was going to do."
He Was Really Inspired By Mexican Culture In The Movie"I think I had always heard of Day of the Dead, but I was just an American kid from the South, I obviously didn’t really know anything about the Mexican culture. And this was an education. And I’m not saying this for [the movie] – it is something I’m going to adopt into my own [life]. I’m not a religious person, but I am a spiritual person, and I think the idea of life and then whatever comes after, the idea of when someone moves on to whatever’s after... If the people that are still in this world treat them as if they’re there, cook them their favorite meal, serve their drinks that they used to like, or tell their stories or their jokes, it’s as if they’re there, they’re really there, they do exist. And I just think that’s one of the most beautiful traditions that I’ve heard of."
He Thinks Day of The Dead Is A Great Way To Think About Death"When I heard about the Mexican Day of the Dead, I was like, wow how are they going to pull that off as a kid’s movie? But I think it’s such a beautiful way of looking at it. It doesn’t deal with it as death as in they’re gone, and that’s why it’s literally the land of the remembered. They don’t go away, they can really still be with you. I don’t know, I think it’s a really safe and beautiful way to talk about it. Better maybe to learn about it in a beautiful fiction world than in real life first."
He Loves Doing Animated MoviesIt’s freeing at the end of the day. You just sort of let go and you really just trust your director. He’s the whole reason why I signed on to this. I didn’t even read a script first, which is generally how it works. You read a script and then you go, 'okay I want to meet the director and see his vision for it.' instead he said he wanted to come and pitch me a story. Instead, he told me told two stories. He told me one very personal one that I won’t share here, but it moved me almost to tears. I knew that if this movie had any amount of that in it, it was going to be truly alive and emotional and real and beautiful. And then he told me the story of The Book of Life and I just thought, man this is punk rock and cool and I would love to go down this route. You know, there’s no wrong answers when you’re doing an animated movie. You can be like skdjfksdf and they’ll use that. They’ll just create something in the world where it fits and you don’t know what might be in the movie, so you just kind of let go."
He Was Hesitant About Playing A Mexican Character"Yeah, that was a conversation I had with [the director] probably too late. I loved the story, and then it dawned on me… I was like, I don’t think he wants me to have a Spanish accent, does he? And I asked him, and he was like no. I think it really was for me living in this world, and it’'s obviously a very magical land. It’s not Mexico, it’s sort of a fantasy town. We’re little marionette type looking people, so I don’t really know if I can speak to what it was like to play a Latin character. I didn’t really try to portray that because we didn’t want it to feel like that... not everyone had a Spanish feeling voice or persona. To give it more accessibility, I think that was smart so you didn’t feel like, I can only connect to this if I’m Spanish. It was fun."
Are you a fan of Channing Tatum? Are you going to see The Book of Life? Tell me in the comments!