Thursday, June 21, 2018
Movies

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill on their roles in '21 Jump Street'

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

Channing Tatum is playing good cop, in a three-way telephone chat with the Tampa Bay Times and his 21 Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill. The recent Oscar nominee isn't exactly the bad cop but he sounds a bit groggy and later, briefly perturbed.

"We've got Tampa's finest on the phone," Hill says when Tatum clicks into the conversation.

"Tampa uuuup!" says Tatum, a shout-out to where he grew up and graduated high school, before becoming Hollywood's current go-to heartthrob/action hero. And maybe its next hilarious hunk, after 21 Jump Street.

Tatum's comedic role is nestled between the romance of The Vow, which has grossed more than $100 million, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which will, when it debuts June 29. That is the same opening day as Magic Mike, a comedy inspired by Tatum's experiences dancing for dollars in Tampa nightclubs that filmed locally for two weeks in 2011.

We'll discuss Magic Mike later ("Done and done," he says to the invitation). For now it's 21 Jump Street getting the attention, particularly Tatum's surprising turn as a bumbling cop going undercover in a high school drug sting. "He walks away with the movie," Hill declares, and nobody will argue.

Hill explains how Tatum nailed it, Tatum gives credit right back, and both talk body types in comedy and making a Tampa Bay visit, in these interview excerpts:

Jonah, your body type is traditionally funny. But Channing, is it tougher being funny when you're a stud?

Tatum: I don't know, man. When I hear people say stuff about (having) the body type to be funny, I don't get it. I mean, Chris Farley was funny and he used that (overweight) thing, but Jonah's more about smart writing.

Hill: I think Jump Street is my funniest movie and I'm in really good shape in that movie. Or pretty good shape. You're making a false statement because in 21 Jump Street I'm funny. … Steve Martin and Bill Murray aren't overweight. Richard Pryor wasn't overweight. It's such a dumb argument. I mean, you're not dumb but the stereotype is stupid.

Tatum: But I do know what you're saying. People are not apt to get behind a person (in a comedy) who's like an athlete or something. When I started the movie, I asked Jonah a lot: "How do I do this?" If I couldn't find my way into a joke Jonah would always remind me to just play it real. Play it like you mean it and it'll all be funny.

Hill: And with a good character you don't worry about it being funny. You have to define what's heartbreaking about somebody before you find what's funny about them. Channing's character is someone who really wants to be smart but isn't, like a Fredo Corleone type. It works amazing with someone with a body type like Chan.

So, you guys are buddies now. Why not bring Jonah to Tampa Bay for a visit?

Tatum: Yeah, man, I'd love to show him the sights.

Hill: I've never been there. That would be good.

Where would you take him?

Tatum: Definitely we'd have to go to Ybor (City), obviously I want to go to a Bucs game and to Clearwater. That would be three little tags I'd take him to.

Hill: What's Ybor?

Tatum: Ybor City is like a club district, almost like Bourbon (Street) or something like that, with a Spanish vibe.

That's a night of drinking, a football game and beach time. Anything else you'd want to do, Jonah?

Hill: What else is there in life?

We could probably find something else for you here.

Tatum: That's probably true, actually. Very true.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

OPENING FRIDAY:JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOMDinosaurs: Keep them alive or kill them off? It’s a question that haunts the human characters in between fireball-dodging cardio workouts in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the spectacularly ho-hum new ent...
Published: 06/20/18
‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

It’s been 14 years since the premiere of Brad Bird’s beloved animated superhero film The Incredibles, one of the mega-hit Pixar films that cemented its reputation for film humor and heart that would satisfy both parents and children. With cool mid-ce...
Published: 06/13/18
Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Neighborly block party comes to downtown Tampa.
Published: 06/12/18
 ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

If beloved children’s television show host Mr. Rogers were once a representation of all things milquetoast, in the summer of 2018, his message of love and tolerance is not only saintly, it’s radical. In the deftly crafted documentary Won’t You Be My ...
Published: 06/12/18
Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Most every successful heist movie, just like a heist itself, functions by obeying a well-defined formula.First comes the setup and backstory (typically involving the righting of a wrong, to lend the subsequent lawbreaking a veneer of moral justificat...
Published: 06/06/18
TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

The last surviving munchkin in The Wizard of Oz has died.Jerry Maren, 98, died last week at a nursing home in San Diego, according to TMZ.The cause of death for the last surviving member of the famous Lollipop Guild, made famous in the 1939 classic, ...
Published: 06/06/18
‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

BLIND SIDE: Summer Classic Movie SeriesAll summer long, Tampa Theatre is showing classic Hollywood movies. Sunday features not only a screening of 2009’s The Blind Side, but also actor Quinton Aaron, who played Big Mike in the film, for a Q&A. Based ...
Published: 06/06/18
In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy noted in a sentence so right, by the time you started arguing with it Anna Karenina was off and suffering.If Tolstoy got a look at Hereditary, he might’ve added: ...
Updated one month ago
Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Hotel Artemis is a shining example of how it isn’t the amount of money spent to make a movie, but how the budget is being spent. Director/writer Drew Pearce has managed to take the money that would be the cape-pressing budget for most superhero movie...
Updated one month ago
Summer movie guide: All the superheroes, sequels and quirky comedies to see

Summer movie guide: All the superheroes, sequels and quirky comedies to see

Summer started early this year in Hollywood with the record-breaking release of Avengers: Infinity War, and the marquee Marvel superheroes couldn’t have come at a better time. The box office for the year is down nearly 3 percent, and the industry is ...
Updated one month ago