Paul Newman and Robert Redford. George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
There have been some epic Hollywood bromances through the years, but the current men of the hour are Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum, who are lending their voices to the new comedy series Comrade Detective, an Amazon and A24 production that follows two Romanian detectives at the height of the Cold War in 1980s Eastern Europe. They will provide the English voiceover for the two main characters, Detectives Gregor Anghel and Iosef Baciu, who uncover a plot to destroy Romania with capitalism.
Like many classic pairings, Gorden-Levitt and Tatum are a yin and yang of modern-day movie stardom — with Gordon-Levitt’s small frame and hipster persona contrasting with Tatum’s specific brand of Magic Mike beefcake.
Gordon-Levitt has built an image as a hopeless romantic with a creative side channeled into Hit Record, his online community-slash-production company. Tatum, in turn, has used his dance skills and naive hunk persona as a former stripper to build his own empire (including a Magic Mike-inspired show in Vegas) and become a major movie star.
The two met on one of Tatum’s very first films, 2005’s Havoc, in which Tatum had a small role. Gordon-Levitt told BBC Radio he knew then that Tatum was destined for stardom. Though the actors have nurtured a friendship for years, they finally are getting the perfect vehicle for their bromance with Comrade Detective. But the prospect of seeing, or at least hearing, these two together on screen, at last, last got us feeling a little nostalgic. Here’s a look back at this Hollywood bromance.
Love on the Battlefield
The bromance really took off with two films — Stop-Loss and G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra — in which the actors costarred in 2008 and 2009.
In Stop-Loss, the two play brothers-in-arms Tommy Burgess (Gordon-Levitt) and Steve Shriver (Tatum). As soldiers from Texas, the pair, alongside Ryan Phillippe’s Brandon King, struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and the scars of war.
In G.I. Joe, they play a different type of soldier with Tatum’s Duke, a member of the G.I. Joe team, facing off against Gordon-Levitt’s evil scientist, “The Doctor.” These two films are where the friendship was solidified, but sadly, this would also be the last time the two worked together on a full-length project for some time.
A Trip to the Zeppelin Zoo
With the assistance of writers and other creative forces from his online community Hit Record, Joseph Gordon-Levitt created the character of Morgan M. Morgansen, a young man at the center of a short romantic silent film. When the first short, Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny, premiered at Sundance to much acclaim in 2010, the team followed up with a sequel that debuted at that year’s South by Southwest festival that invited Channing Tatum in to join the fun.
The short follows Morgansen on a whimsical date to the Zeppelin Zoo with lady love Destiny (Lexy Hulme). Tatum stars as Destiny’s ex-boyfriend Lionel, a “smarmorific lothariator” and “masculate heartstealer.” The pair delightfully mug their way through a hunt for Destiny’s lost pet and a fist fight-meets-wrestling duel. They each capitalize on their star personas with Gordon-Levitt’s Morgan a more unassuming suitor a contrast to Tatum’s brash “dastardly dipstick” Lionel.
A Song and Dance Team?
Though the two did not appear onstage together in the opening monologue of the 2013 Oscars, they both made quite the impression. Tatum waltzed to “The Way You Look Tonight” with Oscar-winner Charlize Theron, while Gordon-Levitt tap-danced and sang Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes” alongside Daniel Radcliffe and host Seth MacFarlane. Both exhibited previously untapped musical theater skills, leading fans to speculate over the possibility of the two appearing in a musical.
Just a few months after showing their song-and-dance moves on the Oscars, the pair were attached to a potential remake of the classic Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls in the roles made famous by Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. It looked like the two might finally get a pairing worthy of their friendship, but the project has since stalled.
Last May, Deadline announced that Michael Grandage was attached to direct the film with a script from Danny Strong, but it was unclear whether the duo would still play Nathan Detroit and Skye Masterson. Luck hasn’t been a lady to this project; it’s still uncertain whether the film will ever get made, and if it does, whether it will still star this pairing.
Breaking and Entering
The two went fully public with their bromance in 2015 when JGL graced the cover of Gotham magazine in a feature that included Gordon-Levitt being interviewed by Channing Tatum. Tatum interviewed his pal about his experience playing high-wire artist Philippe Petit in the film The Walk, but the most revealing part of the Q&A session was when Tatum asked him about their “uniquely interesting” time together in New York.
Gordon-Levitt responded, “You mean the time you climbed up the space of my apartment, broke into my house, and surprised me when I was sleeping in order to prove that I should probably take better care to protect myself because if you were ill-intentioned you could have murdered me? That time?”
Ah, bromance, when playing terrifying pranks on each other is just another way of saying “I love you.”
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I’ll be your wingman…
The actors have long wanted to return to the screen together, and with the February 2016 announcement that the two would costar in a musical comedy about the mishaps of two pilots, it seemed that dream was poised to become a reality. In November 2016, Gordon-Levitt told BBC Radio, “We’ve always wanted to do a musical together.”
The project, currently titled Wingmen, is still very much in the works. As recently as this March, it was announced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in negotiations to step into the director’s chair on the R-rated musical comedy. The film is the brainchild of Levitt and 21 Jump Street screenwriter Michael Bacall. It would mark Levitt’s second directorial effort after 2013’s Don Jon, which starred Levitt and briefly featured Tatum in a small role. Shooting dates have yet to be set.
But before they sing and dance their way into each other’s hearts on screen, the two are pairing up for Amazon’s new half-hour cop spoof Comrade Detective. They won’t appear together, as they’re providing voice talent/dubbing to two roles played on-screen by Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici, a pair of Romanian detectives during Cold War Europe.
The comedy presents itself as an English-language dubbing of an imagined 1980s Romanian cop show created by the government to espouse communist ideals. The voice cast also includes Jenny Slate (Gifted), Chloë Sevigny (Bloodline), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Fred Armisen (Documentary Now!), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), and more.
The series will launch Aug. 4 on Amazon Prime.