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Bear Grylls Says He ‘Empowered’ Channing Tatum While Filming ‘Running Wild’

How Bear Grylls ‘Empowered’ Channing Tatum While Filming ‘Running Wild
Bear Grylls and Channing Tatum. Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock; Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

Knowledge is power. Running Wild host Bear Grylls opened up exclusively to Us Weekly’s Marc Lupo about how he taught Channing Tatum invaluable life skills when the Magic Mike star appeared on his hit National Geographic show, and shared details of what viewers can expect from the remainder of the season.

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“Channing came on Running Wild in season 1, so he’s the first guest who’s come back for a second episode, and I said to him, ‘You’re no longer a rookie. I’m not going to just take you along on a journey. I really want to train you now. I want to empower you with skills that you can teach [your daughter], and you can take your daughter away on some expedition-type things.’ He was really up for that,” the 45-year-old British former SAS serviceman said of Tatum, 39, whose challenge brought him to the wilds of Norway. 

The beloved series, which according to National Geographic takes celebrities on “no-holds-barred adventures through the most extreme environments in the world,” pushes its guest stars to the limit. “[Channing] was in at the deep end and he really rose to that challenge. I gave him some tough things to do. It was really cold, gnarly conditions in Norway, and he just loved it by the end. He was so proud of himself, what he’d done,” Grylls told Us.

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“Channing laughs a lot. I’ve definitely noted that he loves to [laugh]. So many times when it was, like, something really quite gnarly, he’d be just laughing. He’d be going, ‘Oh man, I wish I could show my friends this. I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.’ He has that sort of raw enthusiasm that has carried him all the way to the top in his life. You must never lose that. It’s a great, rare quality, especially when it’s raining and it’s not always easy out there, you know? He really wants to be able to take his child out, and show her some of this stuff and do it with her,” Grylls said of Tatum’s 6-year-old daughter, Everly. 

He added that Tatum has “become a good friend over the years and it was just such an honor to take him back and be able to push him that little bit harder this time. He’s a hero inside now, for sure.”

The survival instructor went on to discuss another one of the series’ guest stars, Cara Delevingne, sharing that he was impressed with the fearless nature the model and actress displayed while roughing it in the mountains of Sardinia. 

“[Cara] destroyed stereotypes because you might think, ‘Oh, she’s a supermodel and petite,’ but she is fiercely determined and positive and good fun. We laughed a lot on that journey, and also to hear her amazing background and her story. She might have 50 million followers on Instagram, but I wonder how many of them know actually what she’d been through to get there. She epitomizes the quote that says, ‘I’ve never met a strong person who doesn’t have a difficult past.’ She’s had a difficult past, but it propelled her to the top, and that spirit really shone through the whole journey, and this a fellow Brit on the season, we had a wonderful connection, just a really positive time. I came away just thinking what a remarkable, beautiful inside and out lady. Good for her.”

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Adding to the adventure, Grylls helped the London native confront one of her biggest fears: rats. Delevingne was tasked with gutting and cooking a freshly deceased rodent for the duo’s dinner. “[Cara] was really nervous through a lot of that stuff, but the thing is she’s also tough and she just gets on and does it, and I think that’s such a lesson of difficult things in all our life. It’s fine to feel that fear, that’s part of human nature, but ultimately, just get on and just do it, and she epitomized that. I’ve learned on this show, don’t get complacent or don’t judge a book by its cover. I knew she would be positive and capable. I just knew it.”

Other celebrity guests this season include Brie LarsonZachary Quinto and Joel McHale. The personality that surprised Grylls the most? Professional rock climber Alex Honnold.

“The great thing about Running Wild is that we do so many different things … there’s always something somebody will be nervous of, but seeing the most fearless man I’ve ever met in my life actually be so nervous before jumping out of the plane for the first time was an amazing moment. And a great reminder that what makes [Alex] so remarkable is not that he is fearless, but that he was terrified on free solo … but he did [it],” Grylls explained. “[Alex] faces his fears and he keeps moving towards them, and he works hard, and he’s learned how to deal with fear in a brilliant type of way. Even on our journey, just hearing about that from him was so inspiring, and for me to take someone who is such an accomplished adventurer was a new dynamic, and just so refreshing to be with someone who moves so well through the terrain, and I loved the friendship with him. We had a great time.” 

Running Wild with Bear Grylls airs on National Geographic Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

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