Channing Tatum (left) voices the character Joaquin (right) in 'The Book of Life.'

Channing Tatum (left) voices the character Joaquin (right) in ‘The Book of Life.’

Channing Tatum shares screen time once again this year with Ice Cube, in their animated debuts, along with Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Ron Perlman, and Christina Applegate as they explore Jorge R. Gutierrez’s (Director/Screenplay) “The Book of Life.” The Film Strip caught up with Tatum recently at the Crosby Hotel in New York City glean him on all things germane.

Filming “The Book of Life” was a walk in the park for Tatum, best known for male stripper Magic Mike and action hero roles. “Look, animated movies are like vacations for actors, because you don’t have to work twelve hours a day,” he said. “On a live action set, you show up and you’re genuinely there for twelve to fifteen hours. I get to show up in my sweats.”

“The Book of Life,” ironically, approaches death with a child like understanding. “When I heard it was about the Mexican Day Of The Dead, I was like, ‘Wow! How are they going to pull that off as a kid’s movie?’ Tatum recalled. “And I think that it’s such a beautiful way of looking at it. It doesn’t deal with it as death, as in they’re gone. It’s literally the land of the remembered. They don’t go away, they can really still be with you. I think it’s a really safe and beautiful way to talk about it, if you feel like you want to do that. It’s going to happen eventually. They’re going to have to learn about it, so better to learn about it in a beautiful fiction world than in real life first.”

The traditional conflicts between parent and child is an underlining theme but Tatum feels the best way to circumvent conflicts is through communication. “That is the greatest tool that you can use there, and that’s a hard thing to have between a child and a parent. Kids shouldn’t just do something because their parents did it. I remember I was in martial arts, and there was a time where I wanted to quit.

“My mom was like, ‘Look, you can quit if you want, but you have to honor your commitment. Just because someone doesn’t want to do something, you can’t just let them out of a commitment. I ended up staying in it, it’s just that I really didn’t want to come in from playing and go to a class. It was really smart of my mom, to give me the choice to quit, but I had to honor what I said I was going to do. I’m not going to have a perfect answer for any of that stuff, because I haven’t made it to that part of my parenthood yet, so I can only speculate.”

When “The Book of Life” hits the screens this weekend, Tatum will be filming “Magic Mike XXL.” The lines of communication between Tatum and his wife are also open when it comes to Magic Mike.  “She actually loves ‘Magic Mike,’ believe it or not,” he confessed. “My job is to do things that wives would probably not want their husbands doing, but she’s cool like that. Our two choreographers are old Janet dancers, so they all know each other and they’re all really, really good friends.

“So I work it out with them, and then I go and show Jenna [Dewan], for further approval. She just really loves stories and movies, too. She’s an actress and does things that probably other husbands wouldn’t want their wives doing, so it’s a nice tradeoff. It’s an interesting thing that actors have to deal with, but we’re ten years into it, so it’s kind of old hat now and we’ve kind of moved past it. I still don’t want to kiss other people, but that’s just the way it goes. You know, she really just wants me to be happy, and it’s the same with me.

“If she had to do some part, or gets offered some movie that’s going to be hard for me to watch, I don’t tell her she can’t do it. I think if I was just doing some movie about strippers, then she’d probably be like, ‘Why do you want to do that?’ It [Magic Mike] started off as a story I really loved, and it’s grown into something that I love even more. It’s a weird world that I experienced in my real life, and I found it wildly interesting, even though it was a dangerous, dark world. It was an experience that I wouldn’t trade because I luckily got out of it, unscathed. It’s just a part of me, telling some part of my life. And she understands that, so it’s fun.”

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]