Channing Tatum: I “F–king Hate” G.I. Joe, Did 21 Jump Street Against Everyone’s Advice

Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe
Channing Tatum spoke with Howard Stern about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, saying he hates the movie and was "pushed" to take the role  Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection


G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra may have been a success by box-office standards, but not so much in Channing Tatum‘s eyes. According to the Magic Mike XXL hunk, who talked about the film on Howard Stern‘s SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday, June 23, he was forced to take the role because of a contract with the studio — and he’s still not thrilled about it.

“Look, I’ll be honest. I f–king hate that movie. I hate that movie,” he told Stern of the 2009 blockbuster, which grossed more than $302 million worldwide. “I was pushed into doing that movie…[After] Coach Carter, they signed me for a three-picture deal…And as a young [actor], you’re like, ‘Oh my god, that sounds amazing, I’m doing that!'”

It turned out to be too good to be true. “So time goes by, and you get other jobs…and things happen and you have a dream job that you want to go do, and the studio calls up,” the Foxcatcher star, 35, explained. “And they’re like, ‘Hey, we got a movie for you. We’re gonna send it to you.’ And it’s G.I. Joe.” 

Having grown up watching the cartoon (which had a corresponding line of toys by Hasbro), Tatum actually loved G.I. Joe (the franchise, not the movie) — but he wanted to play Snake-Eyes. The studio said no. Snake-Eyes eventually went to actor Ray Park, who reprised the role in 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

“The script wasn’t any good,” Tatum told Stern, adding that he was afraid he’d ruin something he loved as a kid. “I didn’t want to do something that I thought was 1) bad, and 2) I just didn’t know if I wanted to be G.I. Joe.”

That said, he knows it could have been worse. “I could have been given…I don’t know, Scream 5,” he quipped. “I’m super lucky and blessed to have been given that film. That was really not all that bad. [But you have] no option. ‘You’re doing this or we’re gonna sue you.'” 

He had the opposite problem with 21 Jump Street. As a longtime fan of the 1980s show — “maybe I didn’t have the greatest taste in TV,” he joked — Tatum was very enthusiastic about the project. But he was the only one.

channing and jonah in 21 jump street
Channing Tatum says he did 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill against everyone’s advice Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

“I really just wanted to work with Jonah [Hill], and that’s the God’s honest truth,” the Step Up hunk shared. “He called up and actually said, ‘This is a terrible idea.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, so what’s the movie?’ And he was like, ‘No, no, it’s a really terrible idea, but I think you’d be great in it.'”

That was good enough for Tatum — but his team was another story. “My entire team didn’t want me to do that film,” he admitted. “Everyone was just like, ‘We don’t get it, you’re too old for high school!’ And I was like, ‘That’s sorta the point!'”

He did it anyway, of course, and it (quite literally) paid off. The movie, released in 2012, grossed more than $201 million worldwide and spawned the sequel 22 Jump Street, which came out in 2014 and grossed more than $331 million.

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