INTERVIEW: Channing Tatum Gives Us Love Advice!
We are with super hot Channing Tatum, the star of the romantic film Dear John and, just in time for Valentine's Day, he is giving us advice on how to keep romance sizzlin'. According to Channing you need to "pay attention, guys! Write little notes. Do something crazy!"
We learned what he said to co-star Amanda Seyfried about why the two playing lovers would be "safe".
The buff cutie also wants you to know why Dear John isn't just a "chick flick" and about how easy it was on set to do hot love scenes because both he and co-star Amanda Seyfried were in romantic Charleston, South Carolina with their significant others Jenna Dewan and Dominic Cooper.
Entering our Beverly Hills hotel suite, Channing looked very different from the "soldier" mode we're used to. His hair was long and he was growing a cute goatee! We hadta ask....
Hey, what's with the facial hair action and the long hair? It's a totally new look for you.
Channing: Yeah. Every single film I do I seem to have a shaved head or something close to it. And then I grow it out and then I have to do a reshoot for a film that I have a shaved head for. So I just sort of grow it between films and let it go because I can't grow facial hair.
Does Jenna like it?
Channing: It bites her a little bit but she's got to deal with it now. I bought her. She's mine forever (he laughs). I'll probably end up shaving it for whatever I do next.
Since this is such a romantic movie, I have to ask what do you think is the most important quality in a mate?
Channing: Obviously loyalty. But that should just be a given. Having somebody you want to grow with and makes you want to be better I think is a huge key other than just enjoying them and laughing and having fun with each other.
To make it work is you have to pay attention. You have to want to make sure they're okay. I know if Jenna's had a bad dream. I know if she's going to wake up in a good mood. I just know. Maybe because I've spent a lot of time with her but 'pay attention guys. If you love the person, just figure out how to make them happy. Write a little note. Put it under the toilet seat. Do something crazy. Make them laugh.' It's not that hard to pay attention and care.
What a sweet thing to say. Do you write love notes?
Channing: I do. Little ones. I don't know the last time was when I wrote an actual letter and stamped it. I've written things like fun little stories and gave them as gifts and stuff.
Teens will want to know why John couldn't just e-mail his girl rather than hand-writing all these letters. Was it because he couldn't get a signal to get online at all where he was?
Channing: That's what we tried to build into the story. He's in all these really remote places. In the book, it clears it up a little better. I don't think we had time, though, in the movie to (clarify that). They did the e-mailing in the book. They did the phone calls.
But they just found they enjoyed the letter writing. It was kind of like Christmas, he got to open a package. He had to wait for something. That letter was something that she touched and made and it smells like her. You can see her handwriting. Just the smell of somebody, it's such a sense memory thing. You can (breathe in) and go nuts over it. It's something you made. It's nice. It's nice.
Very romantic! You've met and worked with a lot of real military guys for your films but did you ever talk to one about getting these Dear John break-up letters? And, did you ever get one?
Channing: (laughs) No, I've never gotten a 'Dear John' letter. But I asked (these military guys) a couple of times and I don't think I got a 'yes' or anything. There was a (scene) that we were going to do where John starts to freak out that she's going to be with somebody else or that somebody else is trying to slide in there. And he was really freaking out about that.
That's more what the guys talk about. (They worry) about a Jody, they call it. That seems to be more of the paranoia (they have) than worrying that they're going to get a break-up-with-you letter. It's more about knowing someone else is having sex with your wife or girlfriend.
This is a new kind of role for you. Did you enjoy playing John? He has so many challenges that it must have been difficult.
Channing: It's definitely the favorite role that I've done. I feel like I did something different as far as the way my energy was. I tried to be still in the movie. That is something I haven't really done in a film. Most of my characters have been sort of kinetic and very physical.
I don't know if it was harder; it was just different. All of the characters are hard in a certain way. It was challenging. But Lasse (Hallstrom, the director) just gives you the freedom to try anything. It doesn't make it difficult. It just makes it fun.
It's a great way to make films because it takes the pressure off. We had a clear character description between him and I. As long as you stay with that blueprint, you'll know when you go off.
He let you do improvisation?
Channing: Yeah. He'll have you start with the lines for the first take and then he'll have you kind of improv the scene. Usually what happens is the energy of the scene gets right but the lines are kind of everywhere, because you are just saying things you know you would say in that situation. Then you bring back in what's written and it just sort of fits.
John is not very verbal. He doesn't express himself well.
Channing: No, not at all. He's very, very socially inept. (I had to work on) not saying anything and make (Amanda's character Savannah) bring me out because that's what she does in the movie. She opens me up. And his social skills and tact are very, very minimal.
That's what I think the beautiful thing is: the military sort of shaped him to be a man and now (Savannah) is making him a soul, a heart. She's introducing him to his feelings and making him understand relationships and how to deal with people and feelings, and I love that about the film.
You and Amanda do seem to have great chemistry in the film. What is it about her that makes that work for you?
Channing: You've met her. She's really easy to get along with. As soon as she walked in the door she was hilarious, kind of comfortable, oddly quirky and weird, and you just kind of love her for it.
She's so talented that she makes really interesting choices, and kind of goes away from the emotion. In a movie like this, that could be a pitfall. You can be too melodramatic and you need someone with her sort of lightness.
She said Jenna was on the set and her boyfriend (Dominic Cooper), which made it easier.
Channing: That was the big thing. In her audition I said to her, 'look, you have a boyfriend, I have a girlfriend and we're totally in love, this is safe. We've just got to be these characters and this is absolutely a safe place'. That's what I love about acting is you get to do these really emotional and loving characters because it is safe. There's no blurring of the lines. You know that you can express your emotions to somebody and there's no confusion there. You know what you're doing.
She also told us you were a prankster on set. But she didn't tell us what you did.
Channing: (chuckles). Most good pranks you can't tell. She's just as bad, trust me. I generally don't like to get involved in pranks because it always goes bad. It always has a snowball effect and never ends pretty, so I try not to get into too many prank wars with people.
You practiced on your surfing for this?
Channing: Yep. Carolina is by far the hardest place I've tried to surf. I learned here (in LA). There are big, long rolling waves and it's really easy to learn how to surf here. There, they're like a washing machine. One's coming this way; and one's coming that way. They're everywhere. I had a stunt surfer, because I can't be out in the water all day because it's exhausting, and even he was having a hard time getting up (on the board) because the waves close out.
You only need like a quick second to look like you're up but it was even hard to get that much because of the conditions over there. We would start at one end of the pier and like 20 minutes later we were about a mile down the beach. I'm from Florida, so I know that very, very well.
Do you think this movie will escape the label "chick flick?"
Channing: I hope so because I think this one is less a chick flick than some of his (Nicholas Sparks') other films. There's more aspects for males (to relate to) in this one than a lot of them that I've seen, actually.
It has a beautiful dad story and I hope guys just give it a shot. Number one, I think they'll have to go. I get taken to chick flicks all the time (he laughs). When I see a good one, it just has to be a good movie. It doesn't matter what it's about. If it's about females, a dramatic piece or just a good, entertaining film, it doesn't really matter as long as it's good.
So why will guys especially relate to the film? Girls need some ammo to tell their boyfriends!
Channing: (laughs) I think it's a good movie. I really like the film. I hope people give it a shot. I hope guys don't go, 'aw, it's a Nicholas Sparks film'. I challenge them to go in and see it and not think of their first love because that's what I think the movie's about. I think the movie's about that first person you fell in love with, and you're not going to get right. You can't get it right. Not the first love. You don't know what love is. You don't know how to be in a relationship. You don't know how to make it work.
You don't know how to take the losses when you need to take it. Guys have relationships and they have people they've fallen in love with. Aside from the father story, and I guarantee you people will think of their parents when they see the movie. It doesn't have to be a father and son. It can be a daughter and a mother. It's not about who it is. It's about the fact that they didn't understand each other. And they didn't have any way to do that.
What determines your film choices? You move between big budget movies like GI Joe and independent movies like Recognizing Your Saints?
Channing: I love changing it up and I love doing the smaller movies more. I was terrified to do G.I. Joe (laughs). I had no idea how to do one of those films. I just left it up to Steven. He just knows how to make those big, family films. I like changing not so much the scope but the type of film.
I've played three soldiers but they've all been very different. One was a very sort of political drama. One was X-men and it had nothing to do with a real soldier at all other than knowing how to hold your weapon and move.
I don't think this is a war movie at all. I think it's just a relationship film. I like directors and I like characters. Story comes from those. I just like to do things that challenge me, whether it's physically or emotionally. I haven't played a lawyer yet so we'll see where that goes. (chuckles)
Is that coming up?
Channing: Not yet. I haven't quite mastered my linguistic skills yet so I don't think I'll be a silver-tongued lawyer just yet.
What are you working on next?
Channing: I'm going to go do a Soderbergh film. The Knockout. I play a flashy little part. I play an assassin. It's pretty cool. (Soderbergh's) nuts! Talk about someone who moves in and out of different types of genres of films of different sizes and scope. He's a genius for it. I've always wanted to work for him and I can't believe I get to go do it.
It's a pretty short (gig) and then right after I get to do another Dito (Montiel) film. This one's going to be insane. If you liked "Saints" this one will be over the top. It's sort of a cop psycho drama, emphasizing the psycho part of it. I don't know what I can say because he'd probably kill me but De Niro will have a little part. I think Terrence Howard might be in it. Ray Liotta will be playing a big part. It's going to be nuts. I'm just going to take a backseat. He's by far one of the most interesting filmmakers out there.