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One on One with Channing Tatum from "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"

At the 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards

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One on One with Channing Tatum from

Channing Tatum in "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints."

© First Look Pictures

If you think you know Channing Tatum after watching the teen movies She's the Man and Step Up, think again. Tatum is more than a pretty face as evidenced by his role in the critically acclaimed indie drama, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Tatum's earned high praise for his role in Saints and even picked up a Spirit Awards nomination for Best Supporting Male.

A newcomer to award shows, Channing Tatum seemed to be taking the Spirit Awards in stride. On the blue carpet on his way into the event, Tatum stopped to talk about his transition from teen roles to more adult fare.

Why was it important for you to change up things by taking on a role in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints?
“This is always where I kind of wanted my career but you have to go through some of that other stuff to get here. Well, not here but in that film. I don’t know. That was a very personal – very, very, very personal role for me.”

What made it so personal? What did you relate to about the character?
“Antonio was basically my best friend growing up. I was more the Dito character, the more reserved guy who ended up pulling away. It was kind of like an homage to my friend.”

Did you expect all the recognition, including a Spirit Award nomination, for this?
“Absolutely not.”

How does that affect you?
“It kind of came out of left field to be honest, because I didn’t have any of this in mind. I can truly say that because this is the first award show I’ve ever been to. You do things without any expectations and good things happen, like this.”

Are you done with ‘teen’ roles?
“I’m not opposed to doing teen roles. I’d like to do more grown up parts. As a majority, the grittier roles are in the older roles. You know, the more serious, nasty roles and that’s kind of where I want to go.”

Is that what the upcoming Kimberly Peirce film – Stop Loss – is like?
“Yes. It’s a really, really serious project. I hope it comes out well. I play a sergeant in the Army that comes back from war in Iraq with Ryan Phillippe. We come back and all this s**t hits the fan.”

Did you do a lot of research for that?
“I did a bit. I did a little bit. I hung out with Kimberly’s brother. He was kind of like the inspiration for the film. So yeah, I kind of just hung out with him until the day that we got into the film.”

And you also have Battle in Seattle, another serious film. Did you do much to prepare for that role?
“I didn’t get that much time to study. But once we got there… It was an independent film so we didn’t have a lot of budget to prepare and anything like that, so we just jumped right into it. Stuart [Townsend] had really done his homework. Stuart wrote it so he knew these characters inside and out and he cast it congruently. He casted it whoever these people were, he wanted them specifically. He kind of cast it to personalities, so it wasn’t that hard to become this guy because it was very, very close to who I was.”

Do you credit Guide for opening up a lot of doors and helping you get roles you might not have gotten off of She’s the Man and Step Up?
“Absolutely, for sure. I don’t really think that was the plan but now that I can sit back and look at it, it definitely has knocked down so many doors.”

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