Monday, August 11, 2008

CTU EXCLUSIVE: Learn About Channing Tatum Through the Eyes of His Mom Kay

Channing Tatum Unwrapped Webmaster Q with Channing Tatum's Mom KayIf you’ve been reading CTU for a while, then you know it was a little over a year ago when I received a surprising and extremely sweet email from Channing Tatum’s mom Kay thanking me for the site and letting me know that the family read it to keep up with Chan’s career. It was so incredible, flattering, and unbelievable, and Kay even started sending in Pictures of the Week, baby photos, and exclusive info on Chan’s upcoming projects both before and after Chan made CTU his official site.

Through all of our emails over the past year, I’m glad to say that Kay and I formed a friendship, so one of the things I was most looking forward to on my recent trip to LA was to finally meet Chan’s family in person. As I write this post, it’s hard for me to stop smiling, because my day with Kay and my dinner with Chan and Jenna the next day were hands down my favorite parts of the trip. Teen Choice was awesome, but for me, what really made the trip was to be able to spend quality time with both old and new friends.

I’ll cover my dinner with Chan and Jenna tomorrow, but in today’s post, you all get to hear about my awesome day with Mama Kay…

On Sunday, I was getting ready for the Teen Choice Awards and realized that I had missed a call on my phone. Turns out, the message was from Kay and it was great to hear her adorable southern accent for the first time. With butterflies in my stomach, I called her right back so we could make plans for the next day. Once we started talking, the butterflies were replaced with total excitement, because like Channing, she has this ability to make you feel like you’ve known her forever. It obviously runs in the family, much like their gorgeous green eyes and their love of the simple life.

The next day Kay picked me up and it was so great to finally see her in person. We gave each other a big hug in the car and started what ended up being a 10 hour gab fest on Chan, his girlfriend Jenna Dewan (who they all rightfully ADORE by the way), his family, his career, my family, my life, the site…I think you get the point. We talked about everything, and I loved every second of it.

CTU EXCLUSIVE: Channing Tatum's Mom Kay and Sister PaigeSadly, Chan’s dad Glenn and his sister Paige were not able to join us. Glenn had promised to help a neighbor that day and Paige had to work. Even though Paige was not able to come with us, she used her connections at a local museum to get us passes to tour around and look at the exhibits while we talked. At one point, we realized that we were doing a lot more gabbing than looking, so we grabbed a snack at a café inside the museum and stayed there until they almost had to kick us out.

After the museum, we headed on over to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica to have dinner where (you guessed it) we talked some more and visited a local bookstore. I’m sure you’re all dying to know what we talked about for so long. To protect the innocent (or not so innocent in some cases), I can’t divulge everything, but I can share a few things I learned.

Baby Pictures of Channing Tatum at Age 2 (Thanks to Chan's Mom!)Chan’s family is very close, so his parents moved out from Florida to California a few years ago so they could be near Chan and his sister Paige. Growing up in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, Chan was an extremely active child who played and loved practically every sport, except basketball. Before the age of five Chan had had more stitches than his mom could count, but surprisingly has never broken a bone (knock on wood).

To channel all of his natural energy, Kay and Glenn enrolled Chan in karate when he was young. He was so good at it that he was able to earn his blackbelt by the age of 11. Kay also confirmed that Chan has some serious Gremlins when it comes to technology and that she’s personally seen a perfectly new Ipod plain outright refuse to work after Chan got a hold of it.

With the success that Channing has achieved in such a short period of time, it’s surprising to know that acting was not originally in the plan. Chan was hooked after he did his first international commercial for Pepsi where he plays a DJ in the famed Copacabana and has continued to hone his craft ever since then. He truly loves everything about it, immerses himself in it to learn everything that he can, is ready to flex his producing muscles with projects he has lined up, and is also writing a script with Jenna.

CTU EXCLUSIVE: Channing Tatum's Parents (Kay and Glenn Tatum)Not surprisingly, he’s a big old softy and Kay told me a cute story about how Chan wanted to do something special for director Anne Fletcher before he started filming ‘Step Up'. He got it in his head that he wanted to make Anne a spirit stick for the first day of filming. Chan knew exactly what he wanted it to look like and described it to his parents so they could get everything he needed while he was in rehearsals for the movie.

Kay and Glenn being the supportive parents they are went around Baltimore finding all of the materials, but could not find the kind of stick that Chan really wanted. At some point, Chan saw what he thought would be the perfect stick on the banks of the Baltimore harbor. It was slimy and yucky, but after a bath in bleach, they are able to salvage this perfectly crooked piece of wood and make the spirit stick Chan wanted.

Chan has had a lot of great people in his life that have helped him get to where he is now. People like Sting’s wife and ‘A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints’ producer Trudie Styler who invited studio executives over to her house just to show them footage of Chan as Antonio in ‘Saints’ before the movie was even done, which put him on the path to getting his role in ‘Stop-Loss’.

Along the way, Chan also had a very supportive acting coach who believed in him so much, she trained him without taking payment. Once he got his first big paycheck, Chan not only paid her for all of the free classes, but he asked his mom to have a special quilt made with a phrase that the teacher often used embroidered on it and to stuff the quilt with the payment. Kay had the quilt made and she and Paige stuffed the money inside so Chan could deliver it to the teacher that supported both he and Jenna as their stars were rising.

For me, a person’s true character is what they do when people aren’t looking, so I really loved the stories that Kay was telling me, because they are one of the many examples of who Chan is as a person when the cameras are not rolling. With Chan and Jenna, what you see is what you get. They are the two most non-Hollywood celebrities that you will ever find. In today’s world, it’s refreshing to know that people like that do exist, and they have their family backing them up every step of the way.

Chan told me at Teen Choice the day before that he had a couple of meetings on Monday, but we would try to have dinner. While Kay and I were at dinner, he called his mom to apologize for not being able to meet us. Incredibly, his meetings had gone so well that day that he had a follow up meeting with a Hollywood screen legend that has written a script, is planning on directing it I believe, and is considering Chan for a role. When that kind of thing happens, it’s important that actors do their homework and learn as much as they can about the person they are going to meet with, so I completely understood why he could not come to dinner that night. Chan’s mom handed me the phone so I could talk to him and it was so cute to hear how excited he was about the potential role and meeting the well-established actor that you all would recognize in a heartbeat.

It’s always great to see how Chan is not jaded with this kind of stuff. Every new milestone is met with excitement, because he’s so humble about everything. Before we got off the phone, he said that we would try to meet with me the next day before I left, so I kept my fingers crossed.

After almost 10 hours and numerous phone calls from Glenn checking on Kay to make sure I had not kidnapped her (just kidding), Kay finally dropped me off back at my bestfriend's house. It was really late, so Glenn called one more time to check on Kay, and he told her to thank me for everything I do here at CTU.

In Kay fashion, she tells him that he can tell me himself. She hands me the phone, and he proceeds to do just that. I was so surprised to hear his slight New Orleans accent and was touched by what he had to say. I’m warning you people right now, if Chan’s parents disappear one day, he should know exactly where to check. I’m not kidding when I say that if I had enough room in my suitcase for them to comfortably fit, they would have made an unplanned trip to Houston. ;-)

Channing Tatum, Mom Kay, Dad Glenn, and Sister Paige at 'Step Up' Premiere (August 2006)I can’t thank Kay enough for spending so much time with me, for sharing her stories and her family with me, and for letting me share mine with her. I truly treasured the entire day with my new friend. I saw a kindred spirit in her and fell in love with the fact that she’s such a proud mom and that Chan’s family is so supportive of him. That support definitely goes both ways, and I’m not surprised, because he learned from the best. I feel honored to have met some of the most important people in Chan's inner circle, and I look forward to getting to know them even more for many years to come.

In my next and final post on my incredible trip to LA, you will get to hear all about my fabulous dinner with Channing Tatum and his girlfriend Jenna Dewan.

This is post #3 in a series of 4 articles about my trip. You can CLICK HERE to read the first article that recaps my visit with 'Stop-Loss' director Kimberly Peirce, CLICK HERE to read all about my adventures at the Teen Choice Awards, and CLICK HERE to read all of the articles from my trip.

And don’t forget to CLICK HERE and skip to the end of the article to learn how to enter the most recent CTU contest where you can win a VIP pass autographed by Channing Tatum and the goody bag I received at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards last week.

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Brad in Atlanta said...

Q - what an incredible day! It's so refreshing to hear how real and down to earth all the Tatum's seem to be. I'm so glad you got to meet and spend so much time with Kay. :-) I'm really looking forward to hearing about your dinner with Chan and Jenna!

- Brad

Anonymous said...

awesome, u got to meet kay! its really nice knowing how incredible kay is and her whole family is including Chan and Jenna. :) i love reading your articles Q!! can't wait to read the next article about Chan and Jenna! XD


philly style said...

CHAN you are an AMAZING AMAZING dancer. i would hope one day my son who is a dancer (hip0hop) and also hasn't had any formal training would one day get to meet you. if ever in philly!!!!!!!! good luck to you now and in the future. Stay grounded and never loose who you truly are

NazK said...

''Chan has some serious Gremlins when it comes to technology and that she’s personally seen a perfectly new Ipod plain outright refuse to work after Chan got a hold of it.'' << wow, so not only is he computerly chanllenged, he's technologically chanllenged, aww poor fing.

Dnt wori Chan, ya got a WHOLE group of ppl who wud giv an arm & a leg 2 giv ya lessons ;-)

Awesum article Q, cnt wait 4 da final 1 =]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice and wonderful articles! I´m a little bit jealous - :-)

I look forward to the article of your dinner with Jenna and Channing.


Anonymous said...

Im Jealous, jealous, jealous ! WOW Q, could it be better??? I think: NO !
ur beautiful