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Channing Tatum reveals the reasons that took him five years away from Hollywood

Returns to theaters with Dog, a comedy with Sandra Bullock and a new Magic Mike movie

by Jake Coyle for Elvocero

Channing Tatum hasn’t starred in a movie since 2017’s Logan Lucky. It’s a baffling pause for one of Hollywood’s top stars: an actor who has gracefully, sillyly, and sometimes shirtlessly redefined male cinematic stardom.

His five-year hiatus ended this week with the premiere of Dog, in which he plays Briggs, a U.S. Army Ranger, who takes a fallen soldier’s dog to his funeral. Then will follow the comedy The Lost City with Sandra Bullock.

But returning to the spotlight, he says he never really intended to disappear: “I didn’t walk away thinking, ‘I’m leaving here.'”

In recent years, Tatum premiered the traveling show Magic Mike Live and wrote a children’s book inspired by his eight-year-old daughter, Everly. In 2018, he and his wife Jenna Dewan, whom he met on the set of 2006’s Step Up, reported their separation after nine years. Meanwhile, Tatum had fleeting screen appearances, making a handful of cameos and voice dubbing.

“Time just vanished… Really, being a father dragged me down for almost four years. I got a little lost doing that,” he admitted.

“I performed for almost ten years and I needed to take a step back… My career was my whole life. It was all about what I was going to do with my career,” he said.

He debuts as a director and still hurts Gambit

Dog, the directorial debut of Tatum and his former producing partner Reid Carolin, was a way to remake the kind of film that excited them about film in the first place. Like the Magic Mike tapes Carolin wrote, Briggs’ encounters on his road trip constitute an American odyssey navigating polarized views on patriotism and politics.

“I didn’t want to just get into someone else’s movie… We wanted the next thing we did to be our story, not to do something simply because we could,” the actor said.

Tatum and Carolin spent years developing a Marvel project that ultimately never happened. His Gambit, which was to be adjacent to the X-Men movie, was one of the most high-profile victims of Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox.

“When ‘Gambit’ was falling apart, I remember Chan throwing a chair across the room. We looked at each other as if to say, ‘I can’t believe we’ve spent two years on that.’ Carolin revealed.

The loss of Gambit still hurts. “I mean, the amount of time, sweat and tears,” Tatum said, shaking her head. They had visualized great action sequences, filmed scenes and designed the entire world of the film, Carolin said.

“We won’t know what could have been unless Marvel calls us and says, ‘Epa, would you be interested in picking this up?'”

After spending so much time preparing something that never materialized, the duo wanted to launch into making a film on their own terms, with much of the same team and the same independently funded business model as their Magic Mike series of films. Gregory Jacobs, who directed Magic Mike XXL, is a producer. Sure enough, they brought the band back together.

“We thought, ‘We have to be able to go out and do something.’ We reflected on the Magic Mike experience, where we didn’t have anyone looking over their shoulder. Nobody was saying, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,'” Carolin reflected.

Tatum and Carolin met in Kimberly Peirce’s 2008 film Stop-Loss about post-traumatic stress disorder and the soldiers of the Iraq War, and have since made other stories about American war veterans; were executive producers of the 2017 HBO documentary War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend.

Dog’s origins are based on Tatum’s own experience on a trip to Southern California with a dog named Lulu, like Dog’s, shortly before she died of cancer. In Dog, their bond expands as a commentary on the lives of post-war veterans.

“A lot of times, when you make movies about soldiers, they’re archetypically pigeonholed as heroes or broken people in need of healing. We really didn’t want to veer in any of those directions,” Carolin explained.

Dog is the relatively rare Hollywood movie that can appeal to both the so-called American center and the coasts, but Tatum — who grew up in Alabama and Mississippi — squirms at the thought of targeting any segment of moviegoers.

Magic Mike’s empire has also proven to be remarkably universal. After the first two films grossed more than $300 million at the global box office, Magic Mike Live — a live show premiered in Las Vegas — has performed in London, Berlin and Australia. A North American tour will begin on April 6 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last dance for Magic Mike

Tatum says that after Steven Soderbergh saw the show live, he encouraged him and Carolin to develop a third film. Directed by Soderbergh and written by Carolin, Magic Mike’s Last Dance is made for HBO Max. Tatum has promised that “the universe of nudist dancers will never be the same again.”

Visibly excited about the film, Tatum and Carolin compare it to All That Jazz and Pretty Woman. Tatum — whose girlfriend, Zoë Kravitz, stars in Soderbergh’s Kimi — said that after two films “about men, for women,” the third will have an actress as much or more of a leading role than Mike’s character.

With the film he aspires to “break with the traditional things of those movies and really do the Super Bowl of stripper movies, where dancing is on the next level, where I hope male entertainment or striptease goes. It doesn’t have to be boring, it can be great.”

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Born and Bred Vodka
BORN AND BRED originated on a quest by Channing Tatum to find the best vodka in the U.S.A. His adventure led him to the award-winning Grand Teton Distillery in Driggs, Idaho. The high quality of vodka produced by this family-owned and operated distillery inspired a great collaboration that is now Born and Bred.

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