We caught up with Channing Tatum a couple of days back to chat about his new bare-knuckle biffo-flick “Fighting” and needless to say, another little film he’s done came up in conversation. Here’s a smidgen for our upcoming interview with the amiable young actor, in which he discusses Stephen Sommers’ “G.I Joe”
What were the challenges of playing the lead in a huge Hollywood movie, ”G.I. Joe”?
Itâ€™s not only daunting, that type of a film in general, for a seasoned actor or an actor that had done one of those films before, lower on the call sheet. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no clue. I was terrified of the movie. I had really no aspirations to go do a huge film like that really, not yet in my career. I didnâ€™t really feel ready for it. I kind of got thrown into it. In doing so, it really opened my mind to itâ€™s just acting. Itâ€™s a different style of acting. Itâ€™s more skipping along the surface and it is about the big explosions and stuff. Youâ€™re not sitting there trying to do Shakespeare.
How do you take the work seriously when you canâ€™t take the film seriously?
You kind of find it. Itâ€™s weird, and you laugh at it. Itâ€™s the only way to really do it. I don’t know anyone that wasnâ€™t laughing on the set all the time on G.I. Joe. Especially, Marlon Wayans is my partner in the movie and we laughed through the entire thing. Iâ€™m sitting there looking at a green screen like, â€œRIPCOOOORD! NOOOO!â€ Stuff like that and youâ€™re just like what am I doing? Or youâ€™re like, â€œYou get the rockets, Iâ€™ll get the nanomites. Wait a minute, what are nanomites?â€ I don’t know whatâ€™s going on but youâ€™re just having fun with it. You just pray. Pray, pray, pray that they get a good take in all the slew of things because you donâ€™t know what anything looks like. You donâ€™t know what youâ€™re reacting to and theyâ€™re like, â€œLook right!â€ Youâ€™re like [gasps]. Then theyâ€™re like, â€œLook left!â€ And you donâ€™t know whatâ€™s happening. You can only trust your director and thatâ€™s it.
Is that the overacting everyoneâ€™s talking about?
Exactly. I was afraid of overacting but thatâ€™s what you canâ€™t be afraid of. You donâ€™t have to overact. I was the guy theyâ€™d have to pull it out of me. Iâ€™m like, â€œNo, man, it just feels too bad. I canâ€™t do it.â€ Heâ€™s like, â€œJust trust me. Promise me youâ€™re going to do it and then I promise you I wonâ€™t use the take if itâ€™s not right.â€ Then Iâ€™m like okay. Ugh. I do it and itâ€™d just be pulling teeth. You see it back now. I havenâ€™t seen the movie but Iâ€™ve seen ADR and stuff and it fits. You canâ€™t believe it. You thought you were just the worst actor on the planet.
What was the line you thought youâ€™d never say with a straight face?
Every one of the lines, every single one. What was the one that was, and I don’t think they actually made it into the movie, was â€œAction figures sold separately.â€ Something like that. They wanted me to put it in the film. Then there was like Marlon, Marlon actually, it wasnâ€™t me, Marlon had a line that was like, â€œAnd a kung fu grip.â€ Because all the Joes had a kung fu grip. He had to say that about somebody that grabbed him. He was like, â€œOh, heâ€™s got a kung fu grip.â€ I was like, â€œThat ainâ€™t ever gonna work. Thatâ€™s never, ever going to be in the movieâ€ and itâ€™s in the movie and it works a little bit. All the fan boys will be like, â€œYeah!â€ And anybody that doesnâ€™t know about the kung fu grip will be like, â€œOh, whatever, itâ€™s just what he chose to say right then.â€
So itâ€™s self-referential?
Yes, itâ€™s very [self-referential], sometimes. Just for the wink at the crowd.