Arts & Entertainment

Channing Tatum: I’m enjoying the movie-making process more now that I’m older

By Javier Romualdo

Los Angeles, Feb 18 (EFE).- American actor Channing Tatum took a lengthy break from the frenetic pace of Hollywood in 2018.

But he is now back with a vengeance and will be on the big screen in the United States once again on Friday as the main star of “Dog,” a road-trip comedy that also marks his directorial debut.

“Taking a break from anything is really healthy for anyone to do, especially if you’ve done it hot and heavy for a good amount of time,” Tatum said in an interview with Efe.

He added that he needed a hiatus to recharge his batteries because he had been taking on so many roles that he couldn’t tell if he was doing a good job anymore.

In a few months, he will be revisiting the character – a male stripper named “Magic Mike” – that catapulted him to fame in 2012.

Picking up where the 2015 sequel left off, “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” will enter the production stage later this year under the direction of acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Traffic,” “Magic Mike”).

Tatum also will star in “Pussy Island,” a film now in pre-production that will be directed by his girlfriend Zoe Kravitz, while the romantic adventure comedy “The Lost City,” in which he stars alongside Sandra Bullock, is in post-production and will premiere next month at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Friday will see the release in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other markets of “Dog,” a road movie about a former US Army ranger tasked with escorting the dog of a fallen soldier to the funeral.

“I think in my older age now I really just have enjoyed the actual experience more. Even when it’s hard. I less care about the finished product and more about the actual experience of making the movies now, and that’s where my interests are lying more,” the 41-year-old native of the small town of Cullman, Alabama, said.

Tatum and his best friend Reid Carolin, the screenwriter of “Magic Mike,” are co-directors of “Dog,” which was inspired by the last trip the actor made with his own dying canine, Lulu.

“Just to get to come back with this movie specifically, that I got to make with my best friend. And after Covid and everything, it feels good. It feels really, really nice to be talking creatively about something that we love,” he said.

Lulu also is the name of the dog that appears in the film, a Belgian Malinois military working dog that served in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan and is being brought to the funeral of her handler, who died in a car crash.

Tatum plays the role of Jackson Briggs, an ex-soldier with post-traumatic-stress syndrome who believes he can return to combat duty if he successfully fulfills his mission of transporting Lulu south from Washington to Arizona.

During the journey, the soldier and his canine companion help one another cope with the trauma wrought by war even as the road trip hurls them into surreal situations at hotels, gas stations and California marijuana farms.

“I don’t know if easy is the word. But I will say that they are very predictable because these dogs they’re very treat-driven. Little dogs, eventually they’re going to get full and they’re gonna not care about the treat at all,” Tatum said. “These dogs are hyper-drive. They like working. They don’t get tired.”

Three different dogs shared the role of Lulu, each a specialist in a different kind of acting.

“Not one single day, not one single scene, did the dogs give up and just not want to do what we were asking them to do,” the actor added.

“Dog,” which will premiere in more markets in the coming weeks, marks the start of a new career stage for Tatum, who said he even considered turning down the latest Magic Mike film because of the intense physical demands required of that role. EFE


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