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Against Their Will: Channing Tatum Interview

Author: 3D
Thursday, 7 August 2008

A stop-loss is when the US military force a soldier to continue service beyond their end of term date. 3D caught up with Channing Tatum, star of the new film Stop-Loss, the second from Boy’s Don’t Cry director Kimberley Pierce.

What was it that attracted you to the role of soldier Steve Shriver-
My reasons were selfish in the beginning. I really wanted to play a soldier and try and do it right. I wanted to do this justice particularly with everything that is going on right now. I wanted to make those guys proud and I think we’ve done that. To be part of something like this, it needs to have a good story because it all starts there. I knew it was something special.

You met with soldiers before filming began. Can you talk a little bit about what you learned from them-
I think the main thing is that I started to really learn about soldiers and what it takes to be one. For me, it was an eye opening and humbling experience. I never met anybody who got stop-lossed, but I did meet with other soldiers and spent time with them to find out what it’s really like to be over there. I had no idea before I did this what stop-loss even meant – that you had to return to war even after you’ve spent years fighting over there and you think you’re finally getting out.

To prepare, you also went to boot camp led by Sgt Major Jim Dever. What was that experience like-
I loved doing boot camp because it set up the dichotomy of our unit perfectly. We would help the other guys [from the film] too, as leaders. But to give you an idea of what it was like, we were up at 5.30 every morning, we were in the dirt all day, not showering, firing weapons. It really helped me get into that zone.

Judging from the smile on your face, it’s as if boot camp was like the Four Seasons to you.
I just really loved the experience. But it wasn’t five-star, I promise you! We all slept in cots with mosquito netting and we worked non-stop all day. I love being physical though, so that’s what was so great about it for me.

Stop-Loss’ military advisor Sgt Major Jim Dever is very detail-oriented and wants you to be exact in every way when you’re portraying a solider. In what ways did he help you play the role of Shriver-
There is an intense scene in the film where I had to fold a flag at a funeral and he made sure I did it perfectly. He was always on set and it was so great just to have him there so we could ask questions, making sure we were doing everything just right. He taught us how to salute properly, how to walk, everything.

Shriver is an excellent sniper. What are your shooting skills like in real life-
I’m all right. I’m from Alabama so I’ve had some experience with guns before, as a sport. I’m not as good as what people are saying I am though!

Your co-star Abbie Cornish, who plays the role of your fiancée Michele, was one of the few girls on set. How did the two of you get along-
She’s more of a guy than I am! I remember one night we were out walking down Sixth Street in Austin, Texas. It gets a little seedy in parts so I thought I’d better keep Abbie close to me. Yeah right. She was absolutely fine and she’s one of the boys. Very cool girl and man, in some of those scenes we had together, she just blew me away. She’s a great actress.

How close did you become with your co-stars Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob Brown and Victor Rasuk-
Extremely close. I mean, this movie is about friendship and we had a really tight-knit group. Sometimes when you’re shooting a movie and your day is done, that’s it, but we all hung out afterwards grabbing a bite to eat