Channing Tatum – He’s no saint.
You might have seen current screen heart-throb and one time model, Channing Tatum as the teen delinquent turned dancer in Step Up or even an early episode of CSI but one thing is for certain… everyone is going to want a piece of this gorgeous man after the release of the violent coming-of-age drama ‘A Guide to Recognising Your Saints’
The character you play is very different from the other roles that you’ve played. Do you prefer playing gritty characters such as Antonio?
With my career, in general, I feel like I’m finally getting to do the roles that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a slow build; you can’t ever get the roles that you want in the beginning of your career, because you don’t have the buzz or the heat, or whatever the hell it is you need for the agents and the studios to be happy. They want you to do a little bit at a time until you get the chance to really work out and do the roles that really mean something to you.
Is Antonio, the character that you play the most closely related to you as a person?
Yes. I think that is what I love about film and especially about director Dito Montiel’s life and script. He wrote real characters without any heroes. They’re deep and flawed people; in their minds they are always right. I liked the simplicity of the characters, Dito didn’t try to make anything pretty or glossy and make you root for a character. I remember, I read somewhere from a critic who didn’t like the film, he said, ‘I didn’t really like any of these characters.’ But that is exactly the point, you don’t need to like any of the characters, as long as you can understand why and where they are from, why do you need to like any of the characters in the movie. That is not how life is. You don’t like everyone that you meet.
Do you think it is strange that the title refers to these boisterous characters as Saints?
No I don’t think so, everything is perspective. I think that Dito meant to do that, he really wanted to find something that was so beautiful in something that was violent and dangerous. He learned from every single one of those guys. He chose to get out. I had people in my life who were insane and negative, but they taught me how not to be, how I didn’t want to end up
A critic likened your performance to that of a young Brando?
I don’t know about that. I think that the only thing that Brando and I have in common is that we are bigger guys. How do you compare people to people. It was an unbelievable compliment, but I think it was a little far fetched.
Were your teenage years intense?
I think that any teen gets into a little trouble here and there. It’s not hard to find trouble when you’re looking for it as a kid.
Were you a leader or a follower?
I think I was somewhere in the middle. In truth I was probably more like the Dito character in the movie. He didn’t like to lead, but in his own way Dito was more of a leader than Antonio was. Dito didn’t do anything he didn’t want to do, but Antonio wouldn’t want to do anything without Dito, so you can figure out who is the leader there. I personally don’t think you should lead out of choice; you should lead when you have no choice and someone has to step up.
Was modelling your way out when you were younger?
I don’t know if it was a way out, it was just a way. I was willing to take anything that was coming my way. Modelling wasn’t anything inspirable or an aspiration. I was into movies and things, but modelling I did so that I wouldn’t have to bang nails in the sun all day. It took me all around the world and it made me really happy. It was a little surreal, because all my friends are workers, they work construction and they work 9 to 5 and I was travelling around taking pictures. I don’t really understand how I got here, but it has been a ride.
Did the surreal nature of modelling give you a heightened view of yourself?
You become so vain, which in the end is why I hated it. You look in the mirror all the time and then think am I in shape enough? You can’t go out, although I did anyway, and eat cheeseburgers and drink beer all day. I just couldn’t stop my way of life because I was modelling. You just had to work out, but I hated working out. You do though just end up becoming this big fitness guy, despite yourself, and become so vain. I don’t think models in general are good looking anyway. Most of the guys and even the females you see on the cover of magazines I’m think ‘Ooh, they’re supposed to be attractive!’ Keeping in shape to be a model you just work your abs, arms and chest and don’t really do any strength work, you just try to get yourself what they call ‘a swimmers body’. I just thought this is so stupid. It is always labelled something so far from what it is.