Could Channing Tatum be any busier in 2022? He already has two hit box office films with The Lost City reaching $100 million dollars to date in the U.S. alone and his Dog directorial debut grossing an impressive $80 million worldwide on a modest $15 million dollar budget. Plus, Tatum has his Magic Mike Live shows happening all around the world, while he has been working on a third Magic Mike’s Last Dance film that is set to premiere exclusively on HBO Max later this year.
Even with everything on Tatum’s plate these days, the actor, filmmaker, and businessman has made room for his passion project as a real-life dad, continuing to author children’s book with his latest release of The One and Only Sparkella Makes a Plan.
“It’s such a funny, weird thing. If you talk to any of my English teachers ever in my entire life, they would say he’s the least likely to succeed in ever being an author,” Tatum tells me about his ongoing author role, following his first New York Times bestselling book in the series The Only and Only Sparkella, which debuted in May 2021.
These fictional tales follow the glitter-filled adventures between a little girl named Ella (who often prefers to be called “Sparkella”) and her dad as they both strive to embrace their creative sides and help remind one another that being unique in this world is actually a good thing. Tatum says that writing the first Sparkella book compared to this second book has been a rather different process for him.
“The first book just sort of happened, I got to be honest. I told somebody a story about my experience with my daughter and her growing up and it like just became a book. I had to learn about children’s book structure and that was the learning process on the first book. The second book was definitely like polar opposite different. It was way more of a start-stutter kind of creative process.”
Tatum credits his daughter Everly for being his “muse” throughout his entire Sparkella storytelling process. Even phrases mentioned in the books come from aspects of Tatum’s life beside Everly, including his playful “Glitter Poop” nickname for her and the fun activities they do together like “tiny dance party.” He goes on to say that sometimes his own father-daughter activities have (ironically) sparked his Sparkella story ideas. An example of this comes from a rather challenging and time-consuming birdhouse project they worked on together one weekend at their getaway spot outside of Los Angeles.
“I wish I didn’t have to spend six hours trying to make a birdhouse out of wood that will never make a birdhouse, but it was fascinating to watch her process unfold and her find it and I know ‘Evie’ enough – she has to find it herself. She doesn’t enjoy being on anyone else’s creative agenda. Maybe that’s the third book is she needs to get on someone else’s creative agenda (laughs), but we’ll see.”
It was recently reported by Variety that Sparkella will soon jump off of the page and onto the screen with a film adaptation with MGM, where Tatum is expected to co-star and produce the project alongside his Free Association production company. Even with plans currently in motion, knowing the unpredictable ways of Hollywood, Tatum has a hopeful yet mature outlook about the film ultimately coming into fruition.
“Who knows if it is going to – I know it’s the intention. Look, movies are really hard to make, especially movies of scale are really, really hard to make. I would say that like this intention to make a movie is such a good one. For me, it just kind of calls back late 70’s, 80’s, and like early 90’s kids movies. I miss the live-action. Maybe a little jankier when you look back at them, but they still reached this other level of reality and ‘magicality’ that you just don’t see in movies anymore. They don’t exist anymore. I don’t know if our intention is going to work or not, but that’s what I want to have happen of parents and kids getting like sucked through this magic portal into this world that now they need each other to be able to solve a problem to get out. That’s the intention.”
Coming from an early career of modeling and striving to get noticed as an actor when he was first cast as a dancing bartender in Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” music video in 2000 and starred in a Mountain Dew commercial in 2002, Tatum has come a long way in his Hollywood career to become the sought-after movie star that he is today.
With all of the various projects he chooses to have a hand in lately, I wrapped up our conversation by asking Tatum how he would describe his journey in business as an entrepreneur and the advice he might have for younger generations looking to follow in his effective footsteps.
“I would say it’s different for me now than if I was 22 or whatever and I was just coming into this world of business and creation. I wouldn’t even know where to tell them to begin. I have like a currency and a track record that I’m sort of parlaying off of. If I had to say anything to any younger person, it’s don’t think about where it wants to go, think about where you are and what is it that you are feeling in this moment that it is so powerful that you can’t not make it. Then you have something! A lot of people have ideas – making something creative that goes to market is a whole different thing. Execution is like 80% of it. I’ve been able to find incredibly beautifully-minded people to help me with mine. I can’t tell you that I have the answer, because so many things that I’ve done are only because of the people I’ve associated with.”
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