The hardbodied hunk made a huge splash on the scene with gender-bending comedy She's The Man, and scored his first number one movie with dance flick Step Up (also starring rumored girlfriend Jenna Dewan -- we're guessing he had a good time on the set!). But now, Tatum is taking a more serious role in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. It's a serious coming-of-age indie drama, and it's Tatum's shot to prove himself as a serious actor, not just a hot guy with a pretty face and killer abs. (But don't worry, he does show off his amazing body in the film!)
Tatum plays Antonio, a hard-edged kid growing up in the '80s in Astoria, Queens, where he gets into plenty of trouble on the streets unable to spend too much time at home because of his abusive father. His best friend Dito, played by Shia LeBeouf (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, I, Robot, Constantine), is distancing himself from Antonio because it's becoming obvious that Antonio is headed down the wrong path with drugs and violence. "This was my first dramatic role where I had a real relationship [with the character]," Tatum told TeenPeople.com. "It was going to be heavy and it was going to be hard and there was going to be a really fine line to walk and there was going to be a lot of pressure."
At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January, the movie won an award for dramatic directing and the special jury award for best ensemble cast, which included the acclaimed actors Robert Downey Jr.,Chazz Palminteri, Rosario Dawson and Dianne Wiest. But most of the buzz was about Tatum. Festival go-ers were impressed with his heart-breaking performance as well as his good looks. We asked the film's director, Dito Montiel, producer Trudie Styler (wife of legendary singer Sting) and Academy Award-nominated costar Chazz Palminteri what they think of Tatum's chances at becoming a major Hollywood power player. Here's what they said:
"When Channing came to the picture the first thing I said was, 'This guy looks like a Bruce Weber model! This is a disaster. No!' I said to Trudy, 'Trudy this isn't going to work, I know he's a nice guy but it's not going to work.' Everything reeked of wrong. I'm glad I lost that argument."
"What Channing brought that was incredibly special to the role, which was a very difficult one, was this little Of Mice and Men thing where he'd break your neck [and go] 'I didn't mean to break your neck, let me fix it now.'"
"He's a great looking guy. He is also a very good actor, and a decent person too. And they go hand in hand, I've learned. Channing went for me during the making of this film from a good-looking guy to a beautiful person."
"Chan and Shia are both young actors who are immensely talented. They have this whirlwind of energy, and they're fearless too because they don't know any better, they can do anything. And I like that."
"Channing's is going to be a big star. He's a big star already. He's done a couple of movies that are terrific. The world is at his feet. It's up to him to pick the right material and stay focused on his career, there's no limit to him."
"Even though he's a big boy and sort of looks like he's a toughie, he has such a softness in his eye and a huge heart. I was very passionate that our Antonio needed to be somebody who would break your heart."
"Channing really transforms Antonio into someone that we come to love."
"I think Channing's path is set. I think he's set to be a star. He's got everything going for him. He's a good-looking young man, he can dance like Fred Astaire, he's extraordinary in the facility that he has in so many areas. And I think he proves himself in this movie to be an extraordinary actor of great depth."