Channing Tatum Explains Why He Almost Quit Acting: ‘I Felt Like I Was the Fat Kid at the Buffet’

Channing Tatum‘s meteoric rise in Hollywood came as quite the surprise to audiences. In the mid-2000s, the actor appeared in films such as Coach Carter, She’s the Man, and Step Up. Then just a few years later, Tatum was headlining major blockbusters. In the past few years, Tatum’s career has been running a bit slower. But now that’s poised for something of a comeback, the actor reveals he nearly quit acting at one point.

Channing Tatum wears a dark suit and smiles on the red carpet
Channing Tatum | Theo Wargo

Channing Tatum starred in hits like ‘Magic Mike’ and ‘21 Jump Street’

Tatum’s background as a dancer, of course, played a key role in his emerging stardom. The Step Up franchise continued into several sequels and even an ongoing television series. But it also fueled his leading-man status, thanks to 2012’s Magic Mike and its sequel. In fact, that year proved to be the culmination of Tatum’s career to that point. The same year as Magic Mike, the actor starred in two other huge hits, The Vow and 21 Jump Street.

The latter proved Tatum’s comedic chops in addition to cementing the action hero persona he demonstrated in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. And over the next decade, Tatum has made some surprising choices. These include action hit White House Down, Oscar-nominated drama Foxcatcher, and the Wachowskis’ sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending. Following roles in Hail, Caesar!, Logan Lucky, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, he considered walking away.

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The actor considered stepping away from Hollywood at one point

With so much fame and success, why would Tatum be willing to set that aside? As the actor recently told Variety, it all boils down to burnout. After all, he appeared in nearly 20 movies between 21 Jump Street and 2018’s animated musical Smallfoot.

“I felt like I was the fat kid at the buffet, just working and working and working. I took four movies back to back without any time off. And I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be in those last two movies because I didn’t have the energy. … [I asked myself,] ‘Do I want to act anymore?’ Was I going to direct? Do I want to be in the industry anymore? I got lucky. I won a creative lottery ticket, made a little bit of money. So I could take a step back and figure out what life is.”

In the past, Tatum has been open about some of his more negative experiences working on set. He particularly spoke about how he regretted signing on for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. No wonder then that Tatum barely appears in its sequel, 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It’s easy to see how the allure of his sudden A-list status can get out of hand.

Channing Tatum has 2 new movies on the way sometime in 2022

Now it seems Tatum is ready to start a new chapter of his career. Coming off of a memorable cameo in Free Guy, Tatum has two new movies set for release sometime in 2022. This includes a comedy titled Dog, which Tatum stars in and co-directed with Reid Carolin. The film hits theaters on February 18, 2022.

Then there’s The Lost City, a romantic comedy adventure that pairs Tatum with Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, and Brad Pitt. The movie releases in theaters on March 25, 2022. Beyond that, Tatum is set to star in Magic Mike’s Last Dance, with returning director Steven Soderbergh. No release date has been announced just yet.

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