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Channing Tatum calls new role his 'hardest acting challenge'

October 05, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
  • Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike."
Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike." (Warner Bros. )

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

MONTREAL -- Channing Tatum has shown some serious versatility lately — he’s played a devoted husband, a comedic cop, and a stripper extraordinaire, to name just three parts. But he says he's never been more daunted as he will be by his new role: as wrestler Mark Schultz in true-life tale "Foxcatcher."

"It's going to be the hardest acting challenge I've had to date," Tatum said of the movie, which is set to begin shooting this month. “It’s a bit of a weird science experiment to put these guys up on the screen because no one really understands what happened or why it happened.”

With Bennett Miller directing, “Foxcatcher” will tell the complicated story of John du Pont and brothers Mark and David Schultz, who were Olympic gold medalists in wrestling. In 1996, Du Pont, who sponsored the U.S. wrestling team, shot and killed David Schultz in what was described a motiveless crime. Steve Carell will play Du Pont, Mark Ruffalo will play David Schultz and Tatum will play Mark Schultz.

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Though in real life many struggled to understand what drove Du Pont to kill a man with whom he had no evident disagreement, Tatum said the movie’s aims were subtler than just that question.

“What I love about a film like this is that it doesn’t try to prove anyone wrong or right but just to understand the people inside them,” he said. “Du Pont didn’t start off a murderer and Mark Schultz didn’t start out as an Olympic champion. There are things in life that took them down that path.”

The actor was speaking on the set of his action movie "White House Down,” where he was sporting blood-and-bruise makeup and a commando outfit. Tatum plays a man wishing to be a Secret Service agent who’s caught in a standoff at the White House as he attempts to protect both the president and his own daughter.

The film is more of a classic actioner. Roland Emmerich directs, and there’s plenty of shooting and explosions. But Tatum said that the movie has some serious emotions on its mind. “It’s a lot of fun and all the things you want from a Roland Emmerich movie,. But it’s also a movie about love, and the lengths my character will go to so he can have that.”

[For the record, 2:15 p.m. Oct. 10: An earlier version of this post said that Du Pont killed Mark Schultz. He killed David Schultz.]

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