Channing Tatum on his new kids' book and why daughter Evie 'demands 100 percent' of his attention
Channing Tatum loves a good rainbow tutu. He's been wearing quite a few of them at the request of his 9-year-old daughter, Evie, who is the inspiration for the Sparkella character in Tatum's line of children's books.
Sparkella Makes a Plan, out today, is the follow-up to last year's The One and Only Sparkella. In the latest installment, Sparkella and her dad embark on a sparkly and spectacular journey as they learn to solve problems and use their creativity to make the ultimate princess castle.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What inspired you to write Sparkella Makes a Plan?
CHANNING TATUM: I really never intended to write a children's book or write a book ever in general. If you ask my English teacher, any one of them in my entire school career, they would probably tell you that I was the last person that they ever thought would write anything. And then this just sort of fell in my lap. With the first book, I just told a story about my daughter. It was kind of a gorgeous experience and I had so many people helping me. So on the second one I was like, "Okay, don't screw this up, Chan." I thought, what's the next logical step for Spark in her learning process?
What was your writing process? How did your daughter contribute to it?
I had an experience with my daughter at this little cabin I have outside of L.A. Evie wanted to build a birdhouse and that's like the most dad-daughter thing you can possibly do. So I was really excited 'cause I was like, "Oh man, I'm gonna build the sickest birdhouse for you." But I realized very quickly that Evie had already planned it, she's a full-on designer and artist. She already had her plan. But looking at her drawings I realized that it wasn't going to work, [and] after hours of work we didn't have anything that even resembled a birdhouse. That was where it dawned on me: This book will be about when things are not going how you expected them to go, what do you do? When you sort of failed on your plan, what now?
What do you hope parents and kids will get out of reading Sparkella Makes a Plan?
I guess one of the biggest things that I realized about having a kid in general, but definitely a girl, was just go into her world and fully submit to whatever that is. Wear the tutu, wear the nail polish, do whatever that is, because you're a part of her world and it makes sense. It connects you to her. And I'm sure if it's a boy, it's the same way. I think that is the moral on the surface of what Sparkella and her dad are experiencing.
I was such a boy, a very Southern boy growing up. I could've never known that I was going to be a girl dad. What I do know now is that I've been more creative in my relationship with Evie than I ever have been in my career. She's pushed me past any limits that I thought I had. Evie demands 100 percent of my creative, emotional attention at all times. That is something that I can say that I haven't experienced anywhere else in my life.
The One and Only Sparkella is being turned into a live-action movie. What can you tell us about that?
Movies have 15,000 lives before they actually get made. And then when they get made, they also have another 15,000 lives. I'm obviously making it because I want to be in it. But we'll see. I love movies, movies were my first love. I think that movies were probably my first books, I wasn't a great reader. So I watched movies in a way to learn about the world. I'm a kid of the '80s, so I think there's a real lane there to reinvigorate a certain genre of film that I haven't seen in a while.
Switching gears: What can you tell us about Magic Mike 3? You've said it's going to be the reverse Pretty Woman. Is Salma Hayek the Richard Gere to your Julia Roberts?
I don't think it works exactly as clean as that. I wish it did, because that's a structure that really is incredibly beautiful. I didn't know where to take Mike. Our first two movies were movies about guys [and] were made for a predominantly female audience. Now I want to make a movie about a female's experience. But I didn't know what that was. So we started to try and just explore what that would be, what that would be for a woman to come into Mike's world and kind of sweep him away and into something that he's never experienced before. And to see him in a way that he's never been seen. Also for him to see her like she's never been seen. I want to do the Super Bowl of stripper movies. I don't want to stick to the world of reality anymore. I just want to do some really amazing dancing that people will be like wow, that was worth the price of admission.
Speaking of amazing, your epic 2016 lip-sync battle with Beyoncé is a fan favorite. Have you ever reunited again in person?
You know what's crazy? I have never met her other than on stage in that moment. I've talked to her over text but I never met her in person. She actually didn't think she was going to be able to make it to the battle. Full disclosure, I just didn't even think that she would say yes. I knew that that Jenna [Dewan] was going to do something with Paula Abul. And I was like, I don't know what to do if she's going to do that. And I was like, all right, I thought of bringing Beyoncé's cutout and dance with her, the cutout. But I was like, I wouldn't really want someone to do that to my cutout. So I made this silly video and sent it to Beyoncé, to get the permission to at least do the cutout if she was okay with it. And then she said "oh I might be able to make it." That was not what I was expecting. And she somehow made space in her giant life to show up and do this thing. It was insane. I don't even know how or why it happened other than it did.