IN THE PRESS: Channing Tatum and Ryan Phillippe's 'Stop-Loss' Interview from Collider and Teen Hollywood
Channing Tatum and his friend and 'Stop-Loss' castmate Ryan Phillippe recently did a press junket in Los Angeles, California to promote their film that hits theaters March 28, 2008.
Both Collider.com and TeenHollywood.com attended the same interview with Chan and Ryan, so we now have an audio of the entire interview from Collider.com and the complete transcript thanks to TeenHollywood.com.
In the information-packed interview, we not only get to learn about the actors' experiences with 'Stop-Loss', we also get an update on 'G.I. Joe' and 'Public Enemies'.
You can CLICK HERE to listen to Channing and Ryan in the Collider.com interview, and you can read the entire TeenHollywood.com transcript below. Enjoy!!!
Mar 20, 2008 - Lynn Barker
Best Buds Ryan Phillippe & Channing Tatum
We are sitting across from two sizzlin' hot hunks! Channing Tatum made our hearts beat faster in She's the Man and Step Up. He recently threw some bangin' flip moves in the sequel Step Up 2 the Streets. Ryan Phillippe's blue-eyed blondness blew us away in teen classics I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions and he was impressive as a WWII sailor used by the government for publicity in Flags of Our Fathers.
These guys couldn't be more different; Ryan's driving force is his children (with actress Reese Witherspoon) and being a dad is at the forefront of his decisions. Channing is just now achieving very hot bachelor status and lovin' it. In the very involving and important drama Stop Loss, about Iraq soldiers being forced back into combat after serving their tour, the two play best high school buddies from Texas who serve in Iraq only to become adversaries when one goes AWOL.
To emphasize their differences, the two friends (they bonded during boot camp for the movie) were dressed very differently for our interview; Ryan in white tee that revealed a tattoo on his lower arm, cute hat, lots of silver bracelets and black pants and Channing in crisp, dressy black shirt and black suit pants. We were sitting close enough to Channing to notice a small gash in one of his eyebrows....
TeenHollywood: Do you have a little boo boo there [we point to his forehead]?
Channing: [laughs] Interesting story. [He looks around] Make sure my publicist isn't in here. He'll kill me. I got into a head-butting contest with one of the soldiers last night.
TeenHollywood: Oh, one of the real Army guys you met?
Channing: Yeah. I lost!
TeenHollywood: So you haven't left your role behind yet then?
Channing: It's not totally gone.
TeenHollywood: How did both of you come to be in the film? Did [writer/director] Kimberly Peirce pick you?
Channing: I chose Kimberly on this one. I totally read the script. I heard that Kim was doing a movie. I loved her first film [Boys Don't Cry]. I read the script and had no idea about [the] stop-loss [rule]. I fell in love with [the story]. I fell in love with Steve [his character]. The idea of playing a soldier was always in my mind. I thought that Steve embodied someone that I've always wanted to be. I just never really had the balls to go and join the military, you know? Then I did a really extensive audition process, long, back and forth to New York and stuff like that and eventually came on the movie.
Ryan: I had read the script. I had just finished working and I was worn out and I went to meet with her and we had a decent meeting and she didn't want me [we laugh] and the studio kind of did.
Channing: I didn't know that.
Ryan: Yeah. I spent more time with her and then at that point I wasn't sure whether or not it was right for me either. I felt like she was a filmmaker and she'd have me forced upon her and then I guess she changed her mind. We started spending time together and developed a great working relationship and I decided it was a great opportunity to work with her and to play this character. There was so much range and all of the emotion with this guy. As we started shooting I was so happy that it all worked out because I loved the experience and everyone I was working with so much.
TeenHollywood: So how do you see your character Brandon King [the guy who goes AWOL after being "stop lossed"]?
Ryan: I see him as a guy who has always known what is right and lived that way through most of his life. I think he is a very straightforward, decent, honest guy and through the events of this movie finds himself having to reconsider all those things about himself. I think that crisis of conscience and that soul-searching over what is duty and honor and weighing what is most important to you... I think his whole life everything was kind of black and white to him. There's a right way to do things and a wrong way.
TeenHollywood: You guys play best friends. I wondered if you had to get together separately to get that dynamic before you shot.
Channing: Well, I had never met Ryan before and we kinda just got thrown into boot camp together- Hollywood boot camp, you know? Six days out in the 106-degree heat of Austin, which was bonding in itself. When you camp there's no TV. There's no nothing and you just have to sit and talk to each other and Ryan came on and was just the leader immediately. I took to that and we all just sort of fell into our roles. It was a learning experience. It was camp. It was like summer camp for kids and you got to shoot guns and learn urban combat and stuff.
Ryan: You'd be surprised how close you can get over the course of like six days around the clock with a group of guys and it was one of the best things Kim did for us and for the film because it was genuine and I think you see it and feel it in the movie.
Ryan: I think even that boot camp laid the groundwork for where we are all at today, like the way we are all still hanging out and stay in touch because it was real and we all genuinely like each other and it is a pretty diverse group in terms of age and background.
TeenHollywood: So you still hang with the actors you met on this movie?
Channing: We all get together. I mean, Ryan's got kids so he's a little more locked down, you know, but we all spent New Year's out in the country together. We're a family like that. A lot of people say that on movies, 'Yeah, we're all family', but this is really real. I love these guys!
Ryan: Plus this movie was started a year and a half ago.
TeenHollywood: Once you heard of the policy of 'stop-loss', how important was that in your decision-making process to take these roles?
Ryan: I never had a political agenda. I didn't want to feel like the movie did. [This film] is strictly from the soldier's perspective. It is strictly telling the soldier's story it's not about a leftist, anti-war [belief]. The fact that the character gets stop-lossed, that is the crux of what he goes through in the film, but that to me wasn't an overriding reason like, 'Oh people have got to know about this'. I think it's good that people know about it and I think it has kind of been put in the background. It is important to have an awareness of it.
TeenHollywood: Do you have an opinion about stop-loss yourselves?
Channing: I don't like to get political, but the only thing I have to say about that is that I feel like if there was a regular draft, you know like Vietnam, I don't think there would be a war still. I think it would effect different families, you know, richer families and I do not think we would be at war.
Ryan: I don't like the term a lot of people are throwing around, you know, "The backdoor draft" because a lot of soldiers know about stop-loss. They know about the clause. I think some of it is brushed under the rug and sort of breezed over and not brought to attention, but this is the only war it's been used (in) really.
Channing: Yeah, and I think the soldiers now are slightly more aware now because we're four or five years in. It's happened to a lot of people they know. I think, when they signed up, it wasn't something they were told up front. It's not a big selling point when you are trying to get someone to sign up.
Ryan: I'd hate to have it happen to me. I can understand the frustration. I think if someone signs up and dedicates and survives the length of what their contract was meant to be... these soldiers have been in Iraq and it is boring. It's a desert and they sit and think about every day, 'I'm gonna get out. I'm gonna give my mother a hug. I'm gonna have a baby. I'm gonna get this job'. That's what gets them through their time over there so I can't imagine having that all taken away from you at the eleventh hour and I think it speaks to really how unpopular this war is and how people do want it to end to kind of have to force people back into combat. That's what it says to me.
TeenHollywood: How did you guys become such convincing Texans? Did you just go and talk to a lot of people there in Austin or did you have friends?
Channing: Being there helped. It's so atmospheric. Everyone talks funny.
Ryan: Yeah, and I know I put on the jeans and the cowboy hat the whole time I was there and I listened to all the country music.
Channing: I'm from Alabama and I love Country, but I didn't listen to it as much as you. (Laughter) I actually love country music, but you listened to it like a maniac! I was just like, 'Aaargh'!
Ryan: [laughing] Hey, I had further to go because I am East coast, Northeast coast, so I had to-
Channing: Overcompensate? [Laughter]
TeenHollywood: There is some good food in Texas. You were in the barbeque capitol. Did you love that?
Channing: Woooo. I was 205 [pounds] when I got off that movie. I was a big, ole boy when I got off that movie. I've been 215 in my life, but that was when I was working out and (a) muscle head. [This time], it was just bar-be-que and beer!
TeenHollywood: Are you trying to say that Austin has a party life? [Laughter].
Channing: Nah [Sarcastically]. I think there's a little college there, a little one. I think they do a little drinking and a little partying.
TeenHollywood: What's that actually like, being a big movie in Austin? It's a very film-centric town. What's that experience like?
Channing: It's cool. You know, they embraced us. The more we went out, the managers in the bars were like, 'Yeah, come on back', that sort of thing. It was fun. It was a good time. We lived right on 6th St. so you couldn't walk out of your house without running into some drunk person so you are just like, 'Oh, alright, y'all wanna get a drink?'
TeenHollywood: Ryan, you've done two military films about men returning from war; one in Flags of our Fathers, one in this film. Besides different wars, how do they differ?
Ryan: That war [WW II] was absolutely necessary and I just would have given my life for. That generation kept a lot more to themselves. That displacement the soldier feels coming home and the notion of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), those things weren't really an aspect of World War II soldiers' reality. I think everyone came home and kept it to themselves. I know my grandfather didn't talk about it. The guys today, I found, that we talked to that have served over in Iraq are much more forthcoming and there's a lot more acceptance of them dealing with what they have experienced. The other aspect that I think is incredibly different is the modern soldier. In World War II a kid was plucked from a neighborhood and put on a battlefield within the space of a month. Now you go through extensive training and you're a machine. You're a professional soldier now and that's certainly not how it was in World War II.
TeenHollywood: Did it surprise you to find out that Americans are in hiding; that people that served our country are having to live under the radar now [if they are avoiding being stop lossed back to Iraq]?
Ryan: It did, but I guess I would draw that same parallel to the ex-pats who are up in Canada or went off to Mexico. That was choice they were faced with when the draft was instituted and now there is no draft. I think is sort of a similar notion. I know it's surprising and hopefully that will change.
TeenHollywood: A lot of these guys, like your character, are feeling that they are on the thin edge of losing it and they shouldn't be sent back when they are in that state.
Ryan: It's a dangerous thing for the soldiers. It's a dangerous thing for the civilians on foreign soil. There's also this thing to me that is really disturbing. The army now will accept people that have legitimate injuries and legitimate deficiencies and put that back into (combat) because they can't get enough people over there. I know people who are in the National Guard in their 60s, they'll take them to Iraq. They may put them in a desk job, but back in the old days if you had a strain or a bad back you couldn't even get in the army. Now you can be blind in one eye and be put on the battlefield. That disturbs me.
TeenHollywood: Yes. Have either of you gone over there? I know a lot of actors have gone with the U. S. O. or whatever.
Ryan: No. I haven't.
Channing: I haven't. I plan to though. Me and Joe [fellow actor Joseph Gordon Levitt] and a few other guys are planning on doing some sort of documentary. I just want to know what they [the soldiers] think about all these war films coming out? I want to give them the camera and let them ask me questions. Do they think Hollywood is doing a good job? I know we can't get it right. That's impossible. We can get it close and we can try our hardest, but we are never gonna know what it's like to be in war. All we can do is create a real person and try to be a real soldier.
TeenHollywood: Director Kim Peirce has a brother who was a soldier over there. You guys met him?
Ryan: Yeah. He's really close friends with Channing.
Channing: I know he was in for four years. I don't know how long he was over there.
Ryan: He was one of the ones that signed up after 9/11 with the intent of getting back at the people who aggressed against us. Kim would I. M. him when he was in Fallujah. His closest friend over there was a guy who served as the inspiration, the guy who was stop-lossed. His life was put on hold so everything began there for Kim. She started to go around the country researching. She'd go to actual homecomings and did extensive interviews and it kind of all built. Brett [her brother] was around [for] quite a bit of the movie and really helped out in the beginning and we had soldiers that we spent our free time with, and I think it really enhanced the truth.
Channing: Brett got out because his shoulder was all messed up and when he got out, the guy that replaced him died. He died, actually, during the filming. He was the leader of a team; of a sniper unit and they ran into an L-shaped ambush. He was going back in to be a sniper.
TeenHollywood: Ryan are you writing again?
Ryan: I'm writing right now. It is something I'm hoping to direct this Fall, a small, kinda dark comedy based on a true-crime story, probably set in Texas.
Channing: The kid should write. He should direct. I wanna work with him too. I want him to direct me one day.
TeenHollywood: Channing, what is with the little facial hair there? Is that for a role or...
Channing: Yeah, I'm doing G. I. Joe right now.
TeenHollywood: In the last few years your career has definitely exploded. You are doing G. I. Joe and you are also gonna be in Public Enemies. Can you talk a little bit about what attracted you to G. I. Joe and what the experience has been like and also are you looking forward to working with Christian Bale and Johnny Depp?
Channing: I've been a huge fan of both those guys and Michael Mann. You know, G. I. Joe, I was originally opposed to it. Especially coming off of Stop-Loss, playing a soldier about a really sensitive topic. I had no interest in going to play a fake soldier in a hyper-real kind of fantasy war. I was just like, 'Nope. No thanks', and then I read the script finally and the script was great. It actually has nothing to do with war, nothing to do at all. It's (like) X-Men, Mission Impossible, (and) Star Wars. I got kind of excited about it and jumped on. Joe's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in it so that was kind of more of an incentive. I love him. He's one of my best friends and to get a chance to work with him for a long time is really fun.
TeenHollywood: And Public Enemies?
Channing: I get to play Pretty Boy Floyd in the Michael Mann thing and Christian Bale gets to shoot me! [laughter] I never died in a movie. I'm a little nervous. I am like, 'Oh god!'" That's a tall order, you know?
TeenHollywood: Ryan, what's Franklyn? That's a film you're doing?
Ryan: Yeah, that's something I've finished. It's a strange movie. It's hard to describe. It's essentially four different characters whose lives intersect in London. It's with Eva Green and Sam Riley who's really great. It's like Batman meets Magnolia.
TeenHollywood: Weird. It's a futuristic film?
Ryan: I play two characters and the majority of it takes place in a sort of alternate reality, but the whole movie isn't set in the future.
TeenHollywood: Do you have something coming up in the next few months?
Ryan: No. Nothing I'm starting on right now. I'm writing.
Channing: He's taking care of his babies.
Ryan: Yeah, my kids. Just hanging out.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.