- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Prior to donning a thong as Magic Mike, a 25-year-old Channing Tatum helped launch a different film franchise about a guy who feels the rhythm.
The star and producer of Magic Mike’s Last Dance — due out from Warner Bros. on Feb. 10 and the threequel to 2012’s Magic Mike, which was loosely based on Tatum’s own experiences as a stripper — had a few bit parts under his belt when he was cast as the male lead in 2006’s Step Up. Anne Fletcher’s directorial debut focused on troublemaking teen Tyler (Tatum), who is caught vandalizing a tony performing arts school and enlisted to help dance student Nora, played by Jenna Dewan, with her senior recital. Erik Feig, head of production at Summit Entertainment, met with writer Duane Adler (Save the Last Dance) and pitched a loose idea about a high school for aspiring performers.
“I watched Fame because we wanted to do something in that world,” Adler tells THR. “I went back to Erik and said, ‘What if we had a kid who was forced to go, and he didn’t want to be there?’ ”
Peter Kiernan, Tatum’s longtime manager, says that landing this film felt like “the big break” for the actor, who hadn’t expected his dancing ability to fuel Hollywood roles.
Although other actresses were in the mix to play Nora, it went to Dewan, whose on-set introduction to Tatum led to them tying the knot in 2009. Editor Nancy Richardson recalls her assistant’s concerns about dailies for kissing scenes that seemed distractingly romantic.
“Both Channing and Jenna were blowing the takes, laughing in the middle of takes — they were clearly falling in love,” Richardson says. “It was just so cute.” (The pair, who share a daughter, divorced in 2019.)
Disney released the film Aug. 11, 2006, and while THR’s review deemed the movie predictable, it highlighted Tatum as “reasonably charismatic and highly physical.” Step Up collected $114 million worldwide ($165 million today) and spawned four sequels plus a TV series and planned live show eyeing a 2024 launch.
Although neither he nor Dewan starred in the follow-ups, Tatum left a lasting impression. Says Richardson, “He was really something special.”
This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Florence Pugh Says She Chopped Off Her Own Hair for ‘A Good Person’: “Found it Really Liberating”
Zachary Levi Says He Doesn’t Blame Dwayne Johnson for the Nixed Post-Credits Scene in ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’
Jeff Goldblum Confirms Role in ‘Wicked’ Movie Musical, Talks “Very Good” Witches Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande
How a ‘Pooh’ Slasher Flick May Have Tipped Hong Kong Towards Greater Beijing Censorship