Monday's Los Angeles premiere of Dear John was Channing Tatum's big night, and we just hated to mar it by bringing up the six Razzie nominations that his last film, G.I. Joe, had earned earlier that day. Turns out, he hadn’t even heard the news and his reaction was more beaming than brutal (and, thankfully, not at all sappy). He talked to us about the glory of Razzies, why most Iraq-war movies tank (but his new one won't, nosiree!), and how his scalded penis is healing.
Is it hard to show your face here at the iconic Chinese Theater to shill your new film on the same day your last film was bestowed with the shame of six Razzie nods?
Whoa. Cool. Did G.I. Joe win any? Was I nominated for Worst Actor?
Afraid not. You were locked out by a bunch of aging comics and the Jonas Brothers.
That was probably a close one, but it’s hard to compete with those heartthrobs.
Your co-stars Sienna Miller and Marlon Wayans were not so lucky.
Marlon’s Razzie for Little Man is his most prized trophy. I kid you not. He’s probably thrilled. Besides, when you do a movie like [G.I. Joe], you aren’t trying to break any ground. You just want kids and grown-ups who remember the cartoon to go see it, love it, and have a good time watching shit get blown up. And we did good business anyway. There is talk of a sequel. I know they hired a writer, so I’m crossing fingers.
You’ve done a lot of films that required running around shirtless and buff. Do you ever want to just play an average-Joe fat guy so you can put down the dumbbells?
Trust me, it’s coming. I could do it right now if the role presented itself. I am begging to do one of those roles because I love cheeseburgers and beer. I gain 30 pounds between each movie and it’s getting harder and harder to get it off. If anyone has an idea, I’m listening. Let’s do this.
There’s a 9/11 plot point and an Iraq/Afghanistan War element in Dear John. So many similarly themed movies have crashed and burned, except for The Hurt Locker. Why do you think that is?
Most of the other movies about the current war, including the one I was in, Stop-Loss, took too much of a political stance and no one really wanted to hear it. The Hurt Locker was an amazing film that realistically shows what these guys are going through, how they feel every day, the danger they put themselves in to guarantee our way of life every day, without trying to make a statement. It is a part of Dear John, but Dear John is not a war movie. It’s about relationships and love.
This marks the third time you’ve played a member of the armed forces. Does being surrounded by actual special-forces soldiers help up your game?
Being around them and watching how they talk and carry themselves does help me. I’m never going to know what it is really like to be a soldier, but I hope I can do a good enough job when I fake it to make them proud. They do such an important job that most people don’t have the balls to do. I don’t. And not because I almost burnt them off.
Now that you mentioned your man parts and the accident that scalded them on the set of The Eagle of the Ninth, how are you recovering?
I’m back in the game. Put me in, coach. It was pretty intense. I was really scared for a second that there was nerve damage or I wouldn’t be able to have kids, but I healed and everything is good. Your junk almost being burnt off just might be the scariest thing that could happen to a man, especially a newlywed. That is not a call you want to make to your new wife.
Speaking of the bedroom, Dear John comes out just in time for Valentine’s Day. What do you have to say to all the dudes who will be dragged by their better halves to see a Nicholas Sparks adaptation?
Even the macho guys who get dragged to see the movie will find something to relate to. There is more grit in this than you’d expect from a Nicholas Sparks movie. It’s like The Notebook with guns. I’m a big enough man to admit that I like romantic movies. They’re a guilty pleasure and they just might help you get lucky if you take your girl to see them.