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Before you start hyperventilating at that headline, nobody said anything about quitting. But after a year that saw him explode onto the A-list with a hat trick of hits — The Vow, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike — Channing Tatum says he’s planning on taking a break from acting next year to focus on finding a project to direct with his production partner (and Magic Mike screenwriter) Reid Carolin. “[Reid and I] have about three to four ideas that we love that are all in the hopper. By the end of next year, we’re going to shut things down and write the first thing that we’re going to direct,” says Tatum, who has been developing a Magic Mike sequel and an Evel Knievel biopic with Carolin. “We’re going to be like, alright, no more acting parts for a minute, let’s take a few and really get caring about that section of our career.”

You can’t blame the guy for wanting a breather. Tatum earned a spot on EW’s Entertainers of the Year list for being one of 2012’s best and most tireless actors, starring in five movies in 2012. And he’s got at least another four lined up for 2013, including the medical thriller Side Effects (directed by Steven Soderbergh), the action spectacular White House Down, and the new Bennett Miller drama Foxcatcher. “I love the steps that I’ve taken acting-wise. That has been a wild sort of exploration,” he says. “But I don’t want to just keep putting [directing] off for these fun and incredible opportunities.”

While he might not have a film school education, Tatum says he and Carolin have already spent the last few years learning the craft from the best in the business, especially Magic Mike director Soderbergh. “I don’t think Reid and I would have the balls to try to make a movie without learning what we did from Soderbergh and [assistant director] Greg Jacobs,” he says. “It was like a crazy crash course Cliff Notes on directing and how to make movies, literally get them done. We had a Matrix-style download, like a plug in the back of the head and bloop! I know Kung Fu now.”

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Magic Mike
  • Movie
  • 112 minutes