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Channing Tatum
© Andrea Raffin

Eight ways Channing Tatum has won over Hollywood (and the rest of us)

Channing Tatum has slowly but surely proved that he's more than just a pretty torso. Here is how he clawed his way from actor/model/whatever to hot Hollywood property

Written by
Anna Smith

He got his big break flashing his mega-watt smile and busting hip hop moves in the cheesy dance film ‘Step Up’ in 2006. But Channing Tatum has come a long way since then, making smart career moves and even managing to turn his shady past as a stripper into the blockbusting ‘Magic Mike’ franchise. Here’s how Chanimal (as he mum called him when he was little), won over Hollywood, and the rest of us.

1. He’s a dropout made good

After ditching a football scholarship at a West Virginia college, Channing became a roofer, before jumping ship for the murky world of strip clubs. ‘Magic Mike’ is loosely based on his experiences, so we can be grateful for that chapter in his life on many levels.

2. He settled down with his first leading lady. Bless

Tatum not only married co-star Jenna Dewan but started a production company with her. If you saw them hit the dance floor together in 2006’s ‘Step Up’, this will come as no surprise – their chemistry is the best thing about the film.

3. He does cheesy films for noble reasons*

Tatum says that he took the role in the Nicholas Sparks weepy ‘Dear John’ so that he could learn from director Lasse Hallstrom (since he’d never studied at drama school).

*Either that or he can spin a reporter a good line.

4. He knows when he’s got a stinker

Tatum was allegedly less than thrilled to return for the sequel of ‘GI Joe’, ‘The Rise Of The Cobra’, saying that he was pleased his character had a smaller role in this one.

5. He is actually, properly funny

21 Jump Street’ proved that Tatum can tickle the funny bone just as much as his comedic co-star Jonah Hill, and his willingness to poke fun at his macho image brings down the house in the ‘Magic Mike’ films.

6. His body isn’t, in fact, a temple

‘Life is too short to miss out on the beautiful things like a double cheeseburger,’ he says. In an interview with Time Out for ‘Magic Mike XXL’ the 35-year-old revealed he hadn’t worked out since completing shooting on the film.

7. He might actually win an Oscar one day

There was early buzz for his impressive dramatic turn in ‘Foxcatcher’, and some might say he was unfairly overlooked when nominations day came. With roles coming up in Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ and the Coen Brothers' ‘Hail, Caesar!’, all may not be lost.

8. He's actually English. Well, kind of

While born in Alabama, the Tatum line traces back to a Londoner born in 1599, and his documented ancestry includes English, some Scots, Northern Irish and German. Channing: you are welcome for tea anytime.

Read our interview with The Chan Man

Read our review of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

Magic Mike XXL
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Comedy

Male strippers – those baby-oiled studs the colour of over-brewed tea with buttocks waxed smooth like two Granny Smiths in clingfilm – are so lame that no ’80s revival can give them a comeback. The miracle of Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 film ‘Magic Mike’ was how un-naff it was. Based on star Channing Tatum’s own experiences as a teenage stripper, it even had one bronzed pec in the real world. For the sequel, Tatum is once again the main attraction. 

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