It’s a strange place, Hollywood. Here’s a clip of 2006 Channing Tatum, the subject of an aggressive seduction in an Amanda Bynes-led cross-dressing comedy. Here’s 2006 Tatum again, playing a dancin’ man who uses the power of movement to woo his lady love in classic dancesploitation flick Step Up. Here’s 2010 Tatum, slogging through Nicholas Sparks’ dialogue like a humanoid automaton struggling with new programming. And here’s the ChanMan in 2012, marveling at the intricate social topography of the modern high school and punching out a gay black kid.
So when the narrative on the latest bit of Tatum-centric news runs along the lines of “Actor facing down the business end of first Academy Award nomination now in talks to join new film from Quentin Tarantino,” we can’t help but be a little amazed at how quickly a performer can re-mold his own image.
It’s true that C-Tates may appear in 2015’s The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s upcoming Western. Though Deadline has yet to confirm the deal, they reported yesterday that Tatum is “circling a major role” in the film. If he does hitch his wagon to Eight, Tatum will join already-announced cast members Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kurt Russell, among others. The casting announcement (damn, Tatum’s whole “lovable goofball inexplicably blossoms into respected ac-tór” schtick) mirrors the reveal that Jonah Hill would play a Klansman in Django Unchained a few years ago.
Tarantino has a good hand for utilizing unusual comic presences in his films, making Tatum a nice fit for whatever the director’s cooking up. The only thing we have to worry about is whether we’ll facetiously call the movie The Tateful Eight, The Hateful Tate, or, if we feel like going all in at the expense of people knowing what we’re talking about, The Tateful Tate.