Channing Tatum on Directing 'Magic Mike 2,' Steven Soderbergh's D.P. Offer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Advice (Q&A)
THR: What will Magic Mike 2 be about? I'm assuming it won't be autobiographical like the original, which was based on your adventures as a stripper.
Tatum: It will be a road-trip movie, and it will essentially be the movie that everyone thought the first one was going to be: crazy and fun and less slice-of-life and less drama. The first one, we had to make not so cheesy and campy; this one we are going to swing for the fences.
THR: I know you've been thinking of directing. How about that film?
Tatum: That's sort of where we are at -- either [my producing partner] Reid Carolin and I will direct it together, or we'll have Greg Jacobs direct. He worked as a producer on the  movie and has been Steven's right-hand man for almost 25 movies. Right now, we're just trying to clean up the story, and then we'll make a decision. But it is hard for me and Reid to direct after one of the greatest directors of our time. Steven has argued [for us to do so]. He has said he would shoot it; he would DP it. And there's another thing: Is that good? Because he is such an opinionated and talented man, if he wants to do a five-minute tracking shot through a forest, you don't want to doubt him. It would be like having sex with your girlfriend while her porn-star ex-boyfriend is in the room watching you.
THR: Before acting, what did you think of for a career?
Tatum: To be honest, I didn't have a college education, so I would have settled on any career that made some sort of money that was respectful. I never planned on being an actor; I definitely never planned on being a model. You think about a lot of things -- the military. I never really entertained going into the military, but when you are 18 and you decide not to go to college, you definitely ask a lot of questions. I always loved animals. I worked at a puppy/kitty nursery in Tampa, Fla., for about a year or something. At that time, I thought maybe I should get a job as a vet tech. I thought maybe I'd go to a tech school for that. I just really don't like school. I am not good at it -- especially at that time in my life. I had to go figure out [what I wanted to do]. I wish certain things in football happened differently, but it is what it is. I definitely knew I wasn't going to go into the pros. I ended up going to a little school, and it wasn't what I dreamed it to be. It just ran its course for me. [But] I am happy that I got on with my life. You don't learn anything by winning all the time.
THR: Do you worry about failure?
Tatum: I have had failures. You have to have the ups and downs and sideways and diagonals. I can watch my early movies and know in my heart I have gotten better.
THR: Beyond directing, what else are you planning? Are you going to do the musical Guys and Dolls with Joseph Gordon-Levitt?
Tatum: Joe and I have always wanted to do stuff together. I did my first movie ever with Joe, Havoc . I called him in the early part of my career for advice. What I learned from him, I have tried to make a blueprint for my decisions: Come from a real place where you are not just doing things because your agent is telling you to do them. He has always been a music man, and he is convinced I can be, too. He brought up the idea [of Guys and Dolls], and I had never seen it, so I went and watched it. But nothing is set up. Joe is working on the music, and that's it. I am dying to do it; I don't know if it will happen two years from now or more.
THR: You've got Bennett Miller's real-life drama Foxcatcher out later in the year, and you're making Jupiter Ascending. Then what?
Tatum: I am definitely taking time off soon, for sure. I gotta do 22 Jump Street, then after that I am just going to turn off the phone and enjoy my life for a while. I have been going for a long time pretty hot and heavy, and I definitely need to spend some time, for my family's sake, with them.
THR: Will you go off on another trip down the Amazon, like you did during your last break?
Tatum: I like to get out of society. People forget you don't have to be stimulated by electronics all the time. But we don't have anything planned at the moment. I can't plan any trips; my wife would kill me.