Alabama-born Tatum, Hollywood's hottest, hunky leading man discusses the making of the big screen romantic, tearjerker 'The Vow' (based on a true story) and his costar, Canadian beauty Rachel McAdams.
Channing Tatum, the married, 32-year-old, Alabama-native whose (practically overnight) mercurial career is turning him into a bonafide, gold-plated movie star who can pack theater seats with both men and women. It's a rather fortunate situation which has transformed him into both a sex symbol and a respected actor who is in high demand among the power elite in Tinsel Town. Channing (his real name) has made quite a number of money-making films in his rather short career (by Hollywood standards) -- from the first action-packed GI: Joe, Lassse Hallstrom's romantic weeper Dear John, Johnny Depp's Dillinger biopic Public Enemies and the comedy remake for the 80s TV drama, 21 Jump Street. Studio City insiders expect to see his popularity rocket even higher skywards among all genre-loving movie-lovers -- due, mostly to the upcoming, highly-anticipated GI: Joe sequel (Retaliation) and the male stripper movie Magic Mike (which also stars Matt Bomer from USA's White Collar). And of course, this past spring,"Chan" (as his pals prefer to call him) and Rachel McAdams burned up multiplex screens with the box office hit The Vow (coming to Blu-Ray/DVD), a romantic, heartbreaking and triumphant love story. Inspired by true events, The Vow follows Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum) after they survive a car accident that leaves Paige without any memory of the man she fell in love with or their marriage. It's up to Leo to win back her heart -- and her mind. McAdams and Tatum's talented costars include The Vow also stars Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange (Tootsie, Blue Sky) and Scott Speedman (Underworld).
In person, it's obvious Tatum (who used his muscular physique to jump-start his career as a model for retailers such as Abercrombie and Fitch) hasn't strayed very far from his Alabama roots. He is incredibly polite, genuinely funny and greets every member of the press as if he's just rediscovered a long lost best friend. And believe me, it's not an act performed just for journalists and TV cameras, Channing is, without a doubt -- the real deal -- a heck of a nice guy working in a sea of sharks.
Sitting down to discuss the $170 million dollar box office hit, The Vow, he immediately inquires about your comfort, in lieu of his own. "Are you doing okay, can I get you anything?," Tatum inquires before sitting down for his chat about The Vow. In an interview conducted shortly before The Vow's February 2012 North American premiere, Channing talked about everything from what the film says about love to his thoughts about his character's motives. Tatum also reveals meeting the real couple the film is based on. A long-time married man, he hives his views on the value of marriage, in addition to laughing about how his and Rachel's athletic abilities played out on the screen and set. Channing also reveals he and his costars' love of sweets and confesses what cinematic love story clichés he finds humorous -- especially if he is in the film filled with the aforementioned overused dramatic story devices.
Channing and McAdams
CHANNING TATUM ON THE VOWWhat do you think The Vow says about love, particularly because of the accident that befalls the couple in love?
"I think that Rachel did some interesting studies on traumatic brain injury and this was my sort of take on what that was. Nine times out of ten when someone loses their memory the tapes are sort of erased and it's not going to come back. They kind of generally, almost always, find their way back into who they were, just out of…I don't know what you would call that, just who they are in their core. The early part of their life wasn't erased and so they just get to start again from a different place. I think that's sort of love. If you really believe in the greater love, if you let it take its course it'll hopefully find it's place again. I think that's what I believe in."
Do you think that your character gave up on Paige or do you think he had to walk away."
"I don't even know if it's about walking away. He definitely didn't give up on her. I think he realized that he was doing nothing for her here, and in this specific situation, and again I would reference some of the studies that she did, that when you keep reminding someone that they don't remember something all that does is push them away more and more and more because it makes them feel inadequate. It makes them feel like a cripple. It makes them feel like they're a bad person because they feel bad that they're hurting you. Eventually I think it was just like, 'Okay, I'm doing nothing, but bringing you more frustration and pain. I see you going and being happy, sort of starting over and I don't want to stand in the way of you being happy.' It's one of the most ultimate loves, letting someone go and be happy on their own and having to sacrifice something that's you're greatest thing, which was her to Leo. I don't think that's giving up when you know that good is going to come of it on her side. It's more of a gift of freedom."
McAdams and Channing
Didn't you and Rachel get to meet the actual couple that The Vow is based on?
"Yeah, we both met them. They came to set. Specifically, (director) Michael (Sucsy), he didn't really push me to read the book or to go and talk to them because Leo was very different. I wanted to experience Leo in this situation anew. I didn't want to know what to expect. I didn't want to have these experiences and these stories from the real couple so that I would expect something. I wanted to go in to every scene, like, 'Okay, I'm not sure what she's going to do and I don't know how to deal with this,' and then sort of deal with it in the best way that I possibly could. It's very rare that you do that as an actor. You kind of go into it with a very raw viewpoint in a way, but we did get to meet them and they're one of the most lovely couples that I've ever come across. I was nervous as all get out to meet this guy because from what we've learned their story is very different from our characters in the movie. They stayed together. She woke up and he said, 'I'm your husband,' and she was like, 'Okay.' I think because of her faith base and religious sort of fortitude, I think that helped her, helped them in that sort of journey in getting back to who they were. I think we took a very different, maybe a more relatable way, like, 'Okay, these are just two normal kids that this happened to,' and they didn't expect it and they'd never prepared for something like this. They were just sort of living life in a very free and almost artistic way. Then this horrible things happens and they don't know if they dealt with it in the best way, but it sort of happened to work out."
The Vow is a film basically based around a man fighting for his marriage. What do you think that value of marriage is these days?
"I'm married which is why she looked at me, for sure. Look, I think it's terrible that our divorce rate is way over fifty percent. It's sad."
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in 'The Vow'
That number is allegedly coming down.
"Is it? Is it below fifty? We're going to fix it all. I love, love stories. No. I think there's a lot in my mind because I don't think that people take enough time to get to know each other on a lot of different levels. I did. I took basically five years to get to know my wife, almost six years and I think we're coming up on seven-and-a-half, eight years together now, married for two-and-a-half. I just don't think that people kind of go at it in the right way anymore. It's such a culture about right now and everything is instant like texting and everything is so far away from each other and these things are made for communication, but I just feel like they bring each other farther and farther away. They give us excuses to be, like, 'Okay, cool, I can see you, but I can't touch you and I can't hug you, but it's cool.' 'Alright, cool. This is where I'm at.' You don't get to really get back to the basics, like, 'Can we actually cohabitate in a small area together? Do I get pissed off that you leave the toothbrush every time or you leave your shoes down the stairs?' I think it's those things, and then even just moral things, like, 'How do you want to raise children?' That's the big hurdle, I think, when you get married. Everything is fine when you get together and then when it comes to raise a child, like, that can get hugely in the way. I don't know how you prepare for that."
You and Rachel have great chemistry on the screen. You're both athletes in real life and very close to your families. What else did you find out that you had in common with Rachel when you worked together?
"Figure skating. I love figure skating. Rachel's is more like figure skating and dancing on ice and mine was more like break dancing and falling on ice. I like to call it break dancing on ice, but it was really just falling.
We also both love bubblegum, and pretty much all junk food. I was like, 'What are you eating?' And she would go, 'What's in your pocket?' And I'd say, 'Don't worry about what's in my pocket. You tell me yours first and then I'll tell you mine.' We also worked-out together. She was like, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm going to run home from set today. This is going to suck.'"
Director Michael Sucsy with Rachel and Channing on the set of 'The Vow'
What was after the chocolate scene because that was amazing?
"That was actually hilarious because we were looking so forward to that and we were running everyday and doing sit-ups, and then she was so, so sick. I thought that was awesome because I was just sitting there, like, 'Uh huh. Not so cool now is it?' She was the first one and she knew that I was dieting or whatever. She was going, 'Mmm. Mmm.' I was like, 'Okay, alright. Cool, because I know how much coverage we're going to be doing. You just keep chewing away there.' She started turning green."
In the scene where the crumb dropped into your hair was that real or was it supposed to happen?
"I can tell you that was definitely not supposed to happen. She wasn't there for that part."
When you realized in was in your hair, it looked very realistic.
"It's better than the one when the chocolate fell out of her mouth. I was like, 'Alright, we're going to have to take a minute.'"
Are there any scenes from romantic movies, the usual cliché elements -- like a guy standing in the rain or the first kiss-- that you just love seeing or being a part of?
"The silent laughing scene over music is like always in every single love story I think I've ever seen. Me and Jenna (Dewan) laugh about it, like, where the director's off camera, 'Now laugh,' and you're like (laughs). Or he'll be like, 'Make her laugh,' and I have one joke that I always go to and it almost works every time -- about cows and what they drink."
The Vow Blu-ray Combo Pack Bonus Features: Commentary with Director Michael Sucsy; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; Featurettes: "Til Death Do They Part," "Profiles of Love: Paige and Leo" and "Trying To Remember." (The Vow will be able on Blu-ray and DVD on May 8 -- when this column will also offer Rachel McAdams her side of the story behind the making of The Vow and working with Channing).
NOW AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY & DVD
Embark on a trip of a lifetime with the release of Frozen Planet. Following the Discovery Channel premiere in North America on March 18, and just in time for Earth Day, this astonishing and breathtaking seven part series is narrated by the legendary Sir David Attenborough, hailed by The Telegraph as “the father of natural history television.” Join Emmy Award winning Executive Producer Alastair Fothergill and the team behind the groundbreaking series Planet Earth as they take you on the ultimate adventure into a breathtaking landscape. This is the Poles as you have never seen them, and may never see them again. A BBC/Discovery Channel co-production four years in the making, Frozen Planet is ambitious and epic in scale and provides the ultimate portrait of our earth’s Polar Regions, capturing the power of natural elements and the fragile, jaw-dropping beauty of scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. This landmark high definition series brings to the screen the frozen wilderness of the polar region for what could be the last time before they change forever. Featuring the incredible wildlife cinematography that made Planet Earth a worldwide success, Frozen Planet has taken new technology to the most extreme and remote parts of our planet capturing groundbreaking imagery above and below the ice. Go deep under the sea-ice into a magical world of giants, plunge into the heart of an erupting polar volcano and fly to the South Pole across the Antarctic icecap – the largest concentration of ice on earth – retracing the steps of the great Polar explorers. Get closer than ever before to the lives of our best loved and most charismatic animal characters – polar bears, penguins, wolves and orcas, and witness the most extraordinary examples of survival against the odds that can be found anywhere on our planet. Bonus Features: Science At The End Of The Earth -- A Look at Scientific Exploration At The South Pole; Freeze Frame - Seven "Making Of"; Featurettes, One At The End Of Each Episode; Production Video Diaries - A Set of 47 Revelatory Video Shorts Frozen Planet: The Epic Journey - The Greatest Moments Of Frozen Planet and Music Only Viewing Option and Tauck Sweepstakes for a once-in-a-lifetime six-day journey to Manitoba and Churchill, Canada for The Ultimate Polar Bear Adventure. (For more details on the Grand Prize of the spectacular Polar Bear Adventure, visit www.bbcamericashop.com )
Bob's Burgers Season 1
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American Dad Volume 7
It's time once again to let it all hang out with an all-new volume of animated outrageousness! From the disturbed comic minds of Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman, and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, comes the always insane adventures of CIA operative Stan Smith and his wonderfully twisted family. In the 100th episode, Hayley elopes with Jeff! Other episodes include Stan on jury duty, Steve walking in on his amorous parents, Roger dating Steve's best friend, and yet another AD Christmas classic. Plus, there are serial killers, Turkish amphetamines, and evil clones! So, you know, the usual! Bonus Features: Uncensored episodes only available on DVD; Uncensored Audio Commentaries Deleted Scenes; Featurettes - "I Love Patrick Stewart" and "American Dad! At Comic Con 2010" and Stills.
Directed by Michael Fassbender, Shame tells the riveting story of Brandon, a handsome New York businessman with a dark and destructive secret. Michael shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. His solitary existence is shaken by the unexpected arrival of his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan, An Education), another damaged soul who brings memories of a painful shared past. Graphic, highly provocative and undeniably powerful, critic Richard Roeper said, "Shame is the most devastating and thought-provoking cinematic experiences of the entire year." Shame Blu-ray Combo Pack Bonus Features: "Focus on Michael Fassbender"; "Director Steve McQueen": "The Story of Shame"; "A Shared Vision"; Fox Movie Channel Presents: "In Character With Michael Fassbender" and Theatrical Trailer.
Bill Moyers: Capitol Crimes
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IMAX Born To Be Wild 3D
Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman narrates the documentary adventure Born To Be Wild 3D, an inspired story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. Directed by David Lickley, Born To Be Wild 3D transports you into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dr. Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick, as they and their teams rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals to the wild. Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Bonus Features: Wonderfully Wild Webisodes: Borneo, Kenya, Camp Leakey, Coming Home to Tsavo, Wild Filmmaking, Caregivers
Murdoch Mysteries, Season 1Murdoch Mysteries is an award-winning period detective drama features forensic sleuthing in the age of invention. Combining the period appeal of Sherlock Holmes with the forensic fascination of CSI,Murdoch Mysteries, Season 1 features sly writing, surprising twists, and the fascinating roots of modern criminology. Based on the characters from award-winning author Maureen Jennings’ Detective Murdoch novels, the first season of the acclaimed Canadian series won two Geminis and was nominated for 12 more, including Best Dramatic Series and Best Writing. Season One debuted in Canada on CityTV in January 2008. The hit, ongoing series is now in production on its fifth season, and the first season is airing on public television via APT in the U.S. Murdoch Mysteries Season 1takes place In the 1890s, and Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson, Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye) adopts modern techniques like “finger marks” and forensics to track Toronto’s most sinister killers. Though derided by his skeptical boss (Thomas Craig, Where the Heart Is), Murdoch finds friends and allies in a lovely pathologist (Gemini-winner Hélène Joy, Durham County) and an eager-to-learn constable (Jonny Harris, Matching & Dispatching). Along the way they cross paths with some of the era’s most famous figures, including Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Prince Alfred. First season guest stars include Geraint Wyn Davies (Forever Knight) and Stephen McHattie (Watchmen). Bonus Features: This 3-disc set includes all 13 episodes from Season One: Episode Commentary and Interviews (For more information on Murdoch Mysteries releases check www.AcornOnline.com ).
Cartoon Network/Warner Bros
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Volume 5: The Ultimate Ending
Once again, Ben Tennyson must protect the world from his fiercest nemesis in the series-ending Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Volume 5: The Ultimate Ending, the final DVD release from Cartoon Network's popular Ben 10: Ultimate Alien action-adventure television series. In Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Volume 5: The Ultimate Ending, Ben must take down his biggest enemy, Vilgax, before time runs out. In this explosive finale, Ben must face Vilgax, who re-emerges in his most powerful form ever. It's a race against time as Ben must stop him before its too late, and avoid the ultimate end! The two-disc DVD set is filled with 10 action-packed episodes from the television series' third and final season, as well as an Ultimate Alien Database.
Comedy legends Bud Abbott and Lou Costello cemented their place in film history with the hilarious wartime comedy classic Buck Privates. After spending years on stage in burlesque and on radio perfecting classic routines such as "Who's on First?," the duo transitioned to motion picture at Universal in 1940. In their first leading roles, Bud and Lou play con artists who accidentally enlist in the U.S. Army to avoid going to jail. Making matters worse, their no-nonsense drill sergeant turns out to be the cop who tried to arrest them! Featuring classic routines such as "Drill," "Dice Game" and "You're Forty, She's Ten," the film also starred the popular singing group The Andrews Sisters performing the Academy Award-nominated song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Following the success of Buck Privates, Bud and Lou made an astounding 26 more movies at Universal leaving a legacy of laughter that will be treasured forever. Bonus Features: Abbott And Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld; 100 Years Of Universal: "Restoring The Classics";100 Years Of Universal: "The Carl Laemmle Era": 100 Years Of Universal: "Unforgettable Characters" and Theatrical Trailer.
Eight Is Enough: The Complete First Season
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Crew 2 Crew
Inspired by true events, the drama tells the story of one person’s love of hip-hop dance. With the old school vibe of Dirty Dancing, the film stars Jordan Bridges (Rizzoli & Isles) and Brooklyn Sudano (Alone in the Dark II) with Kate Nauta (Transporter 2). Luca (Andres Londono, Kingdoms of Grace), longs for more than his small town can offer him. Inspired by his love of hip-hop dance, he joins a break dancing troupe that allows him to travel the world in pursuit of his passion. But soon Luca struggles to choose between his love of dance, and the love of his family and girlfriend. Crew 2 Crew also stars Andres Londono (Modern Family), Jeannine Kaspar (Nip/Tuck) and Louis Linton (Lions for Lambs). Bonus Features: Alternate ending and Behind-the-scenes with interviews featurette.
Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns: Season 5
The Brown family will have you rolling on the floor with laughter in Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: Season 5. Starring the 2011 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, David Mann (Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family) is Mr. Brown -- a kind father and friend who tries to keep his family together despite the ongoing craziness. Mr. Brown's "retirement home" started as a complete fluke - a result of a misunderstanding followed by a happy accident in a neighborhood full of lively and unique individuals. While Brown might not be the brightest bulb in the house, he's managed to create a combination safe haven and circus act under his "Brown Meadows" big top. The new "family" members - young and old - who now call Brown Meadows home hail from all walks of life, but more importantly, they share trials, tribulations and lots of laughter. Meeting the Browns will surely make you a part of this fun family, too. The laugh out loud comedy also stars Tamela Mann (Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family), Lamman Rucker (Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?), Denise Boutte (Perry's Why Did I Get Married?) and Juanita Jennings (Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls).