Channing Tatum Interview For Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’
‘Side Effects’ is a provocative thriller from Steven Soderbergh about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects. Emily and Martin Taylor are a young, beautiful, wealthy couple living the good life, with a mansion, a sailboat and every luxury money can buy – until Martin is sent to prison for insider trading. For four years, Emily waits for him in a tiny apartment in upper Manhattan, but his release is just as devastating as his incarceration and Emily sinks into a deep depression.
After a failed suicide attempt, psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Law) is called in to consult on Emily’s case. Desperate not to be hospitalized, Emily agrees to a regimen of therapy and antidepressants, a decision that will change the lives of everyone involved. When Emily’s symptoms don’t improve, Banks prescribes a new medication that quiets her demons. But the side effects of the drug have chilling consequences. ‘Side Effects’ arrives in cinemas from February 8th in the US and March 15th in the UK.
Your character Martin, this materialistic white-collar criminal, he’s somewhat of a departure for you…
Channing Tatum: Yeah. Not many people come knocking on my door for a white-collar crime sort of guy, that’s for sure (laughs). Steven felt I would lend the story a different perspective, as opposed to casting somebody we’ve seen play similar parts a bunch of times. Martin is a guy who’s so competitive. He wanted it all and took it, he convinced himself that it wasn’t cheating, it’s not stealing. And with Emily, he fell in love with the idea of an innocent, fragile flower he could put on a pedestal in a castle. She’s another trophy he won. I think he’s got wrapped up in “winning”. You can easily fall down a slippery slope with that.
How do you approach a character like that, someone that’s so far removed from you as a person?
Channing Tatum: Me and Steven talked about it, in that I’m from the south, I didn’t go to college, I’m not the most eloquent guy, I didn’t come from a very eloquent family – my dads a roofer, he loves a good cuss (laughs). So Steven said, “I want you to change how you speak.” I was like, “Great! I love accents.” But then he said, “Nope, not an accent. I want you to refine how you say even simple words.” And that was a lot more difficult than I actually anticipated, because you’re splitting hairs, you’re saying words you’ve always said, but just with an ever-so-slight difference. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. But that’s where it started.
Then I went to go and meet a bunch of these guys, because I didn’t know any traders, I didn’t know any guys who had studied that type of thing. But I realised I couldn’t play them, it would have taken away from the story. I think my character needed to be slightly more sentimental or emotional, or at least more emotionally available to Emily. So eventually I went back to the script, and the back-story.
Out of all the characters you’ve played, which ones would you say have been the most similar to you as a person?
Channing Tatum: I think they all have some aspects of me. But… probably the ones in ‘Magic Mike’ or ’21 Jump Street’ (laughs). ‘Magic Mike’ was sort of my life, it’s not a biopic at all, but it was things that really happened when I was a kid. So maybe ‘Magic Mike.’ I’m so different now though, so it’s hard to say. There are a lot of different versions of us as we grow up. And the ’21 Jump Street’ character, that’s me inside my head, all of the time (laughs). Probably that one.
‘Side Effects’ marks your third film with Steven Soderbergh. What is it about him as a person and as a filmmaker that appeals to you?
Channing Tatum: He’s one of the smartest, most creative, most original guys I’ve ever met in my life. We just get along personally and artistically to the point where if he called me up and said, “I want you to play Waiter No. 2,” I’d do it. His work is different from everyone else’s. Steven is a student of life and people’s contradictory qualities. Maybe because he’s so full of contradictions himself, he likes to shine light on other people’s quirks. If you give him a cookie cutter thing, what he gives back to you will look like something you’ve never seen before (laughs). He’s incapable of doing something that he’s seen before or that he’s heard before, or that’s straight up the middle. If Soderbergh tried to do a horror movie it would be the coolest horror movie you’ve ever seen in your life (laughs).
And then working with Rooney Mara and Jude Law on ‘Side Effects,’ how was that experience considering the dynamics between your characters in the film?
Channing Tatum: Rooney really does her work. She’ll track the script and track other peoples characters as well, she really does enjoy the work, you know? And that’s nice. I think she’s going to be one of the special actresses, she’s amazing. We had a good time as well. Even though ‘Side Effects’ has some heavy moments, we had a lot of fun making – a lot of laughs. And Jude, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so charmed by an individual in my entire life (laughs). I don’t know what it is, it must be you English guys (laughs)! If I could only have a quarter of his talent I’d be happy.
Look out for part 2 of this interview next week.
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