Tatum on his upcoming role in ‘The Eagle’

by Amanda Macias

Channing Tatum bloodied from battle in his Roman battle garb, portrays centurion Marcus Aquila as he stalks through this period film trying to restore his father’s reputation and honor in ancient roman culture. Courtesy of Matt Neiheim
Channing Tatum bloodied from battle in his Roman battle garb, portrays centurion Marcus Aquila as he stalks through this period film trying to restore his father’s reputation and honor in ancient roman culture. Courtesy of Matt Neiheim

Channing Tatum has long since been the iconic dreamboat to women everywhere as well as an extremely versatile star of a number of timeless films. The Daily Aztec had the chance to catch up with Tatum and ask about his new film, “The Eagle.”

The Daily Aztec: What drew you to the role of Marcus Aquila?
Channing Tatum: First, probably the director Kevin Macdonald. He’s one of my favorite directors of all time, (for his works) The Last King of Scotland, State of Play, even the documentary Touching the Void. On top of all that, the content, the material. You know it’s like Braveheart and Gladiator, two of my favorite films of all time.

DA: What kind of physical preparation, if any, did you need for this role?
CT: A lot, obviously. There’s a lot of stuff that I think normal people wouldn’t do like chariot racing and sword fighting. I did martial arts when I was young, like from nine ‘til I was about 13 or 14.  I picked back up mixed martial arts probably within the last couple of years. So I had messed around with swords a little bit, it wasn’t new to me. Horseback riding wasn’t too new for me either. I’ve been around horses pretty much my whole life. But you know, chariot racing, I’ve never been on a chariot.

DA: So the film is based upon the novel, “The Eagle of the Ninth.” Did you have to read that in preparation for the film?
CT: Actually, Kevin didn’t want us to, really. They had changed it pretty significantly. I think they’re known to be more young adulttype novels and not so historically based in fact or written for older people. Basically, we had known where it came from but he didn’t want us to read it.

DA: In the film there were a lot of intense battle scenes. What was your favorite and why?
CT: God, all of them are fun. They are all taxing and tiring, but fun. The fort one, on the parapet right inside when we were waiting for them to jump over the wall, that whole fight up until the morning time. Even in the fight where we go out to try and save the soldiers, that was fun. But maybe the most fun that I had in this thing was killing the boar, even though we didn’t kill the boar. It was just really fun to ride like that, pass things back and forth going in and out of trees; it was one of the most exhilarating scenes I’ve ever done.

DA: So, Spartans or the Romans?
CT: Ah! I don’t know.  Who would win in a fight?

DA: Yeah, who would win in a fight?
CT: Country or just soldier to soldier?

DA: Soldier to soldier.
CT: Oh that’s a hard one. Probably a Spartan. They were pretty die-hard those guys. Romans were very similar. The Romans just had a better political system and I think they were smarter about taking over large quantities of the earth. I think they were just all around probably more cunning. The Spartans were probably some of the craziest and most insane fighters of all. Good question.

DA: So how was your role as Marcus in “The Eagle” different from other roles you’ve played, for example in Coach Carter, Step Up or even G.I. Joe?
CT: Well obviously it’s a period movie — I’m Roman.  The biggest thing I can compare it to is how I played a bunch of soldiers. I think this is my fourth soldier role, and every one of them has been slightly different. The first soldier role was kind of a political drama in a way. The second one was contemporary, same war, but it was more of a love story. (It) wasn’t concentrated on being political or even soldiering. G.I. Joe isn’t even a soldier. He was like a superhero, like X-Men or something. That was sort of sci-fi and crazy shooting lasers. And now (in) this one, there’s fighting with swords and stuff.

DA: In the film your character got to be really good friends with Esca (Jamie Bell). Do you still keep in contact with him?
CT: Yeah, a lot. You see each other so intensely for a certain amount of time, like we were together for over three months, you know, every day, every single day. And then you just leave. It’s sort of like you go through withdrawals you know, you’re kinda like, ‘I wonder what Jamie’s doing?’ You just want to call him and hang out. But you just get busy. It’s hard to keep in touch with people, but he will always be one of my dearest friends. I’m actually gonna see him soon so I’m excited. It’s kinda like seeing an old girlfriend or something, you’re just like, ‘I love you, man.’

“The Eagle” hits theaters tomorrow. For more information about the film,  visit focusfeatures.com/the_eagle.