“I always wanted to do, like, a Die Hard,” Channing Tatum said last night outside the Ziegfeld Theatre, explaining how he came to star in the building-under-siege summer blockbuster White House Down. The movie comes courtesy of Independence Day director Roland Emmerich, a specialist of sorts at blowing up the White House; last night’s Cinema Society screening was cosponsored by Bulova and followed by a party at The Frick Collection.
Tatum plays a military veteran who ends up protecting the U.S. President. Jamie Foxx is the commander in chief, a charismatic one whose crisis mode involves throwing on Air Jordans and firing a rocket launcher. And not all of the duo’s stunts were on-screen, either: Tatum and Foxx arrived, with an NYPD escort, in a replica of the presidential limo that was riddled with stuck-on bullet holes.
Especially in the wake of the stripper comedy Magic Mike, Tatum is a confirmed sex symbol, and he spends a good deal of this latest movie in the white tank top that has more or less become his signature look. “He was training on set while we were shooting,” said Joey King, who plays Tatum’s 11-year-old daughter in the film. “He had a giant trailer with all this workout equipment, so he would go there during his lunch break and do his thing.”
Such are the character demands for a guy whose grit and way with weaponry might be the world’s only hope. The movie, it must be said, takes a pretty dim view of White House security. Maggie Gyllenhaal, for one, didn’t seem too alarmed. “These action movies are meant to be a fantasy,” she said.