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Jenna Dewan-Tatum danced into Hollywood (literally) back in 2006, when she starred opposite heartthrob — and her future husband — Channing Tatum in "Step Up." Since then, she's been hard at work, appearing in everything from romantic thrillers, like "Falling Awake," to the defunct TV series "The Playboy Club."
After some time apart (professionally), however, she and Mr. Tatum have teamed up again, returning to the silver screen as a couple teetering on the brink of engagement in "10 Years." Penned by Jamie Linden, the scribe who brought the Channing-starrer "Dear John" to life, this romantic dramedy follows a group of high school friends the night of their 10-year reunion, as they discover they might not be as grown up as they'd like to believe.
So, is Jenna Dewan-Tatum all grown up... or what? She chatted with us about how she's changed since high school, what it was like playing her husband's girlfriend and why she wants to work with one of Channing's former on-screen flings. (Spoiler alert: it's not because she's jealous.)
What drew you to the movie? Obviously, your husband is in it, but how did it all happen?
Talk about meant-to-be. We were just sitting around talking one day, actually on the set of "Dear John." I was just visiting him one day. Jamie Linden was the writer and we were all talking about going to our 10-year high school reunion because it was coming up and we were like, "Should we go?" And then we thought, "This is a really good movie!" And within a couple of months we got the funding together and we filmed the short and before we knew it, we had 14 other incredible actors on board and we were in Albuquerque filming.
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How was it working with Channing and playing your husband's girlfriend? Is it weird to go backwards?
(Laughs.) Yeah, you know, not really. We've always wanted to work together and we will work together again as well. We're surprisingly very easy, very natural. We got to set and he just kind of smiled and I thought, "Well this is easy!"
We filmed it like an indie movie and nobody put too much pressure on the characters or on making this a great film. We just wanted to have fun and play with it because very rarely do you get to be part of a film in which they give you so much freedom to improve and make the characters your own and Jamie really wanted us to do that, so we were all excited to be part of a film that did that. And, on a personal note, it's easy! I mean, we live together; we love each other. That's already there, so it's not like another thing we have to do.
Did it get you thinking about when you and Channing were actually dating?
I think that Channing and I are really lucky in that we have a very natural ease between us in real life and it just translated in the characters. We didn't have to work hard at it. It was really fun. It was fun to work together because we're usually having to travel all over the world to see each other! And, overall, we're just really supportive of each other and we both have a lot of respect for each other.
How have you changed since graduating high school?
I would say I was always very ambitious and goal-oriented, but rather than being just a go-getter hustler, now I surrender a lot more and I trust my path a lot more. In high school I was always thinking, "Should I be doing more? What else should I be doing?" Now I know it will all come to me. I just have to trust my path, so that's very different.
Now that you've worked with your husband, who's your next on-screen dream love interest?
(Laughs.) Hmm. I have such a girl-crush on Reese Witherspoon. I would love to do a comedy with her. I also love Rachel McAdams. I know Channing did a film with her and that she was lovely. She's one of my favorite young actresses and I think that would be really fun to work with her. I love to act. I want to be doing this forever, and I love to learn from people who I think are better.
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Is there anyone you look up to or whose career you'd hope to emulate?
You know, it's a weird question, because there's nobody whose career I want exactly, but the people that I admire are actually people like Oprah. I have a very strong humanitarian side to me and those are the people I really admire because I think she was able to act and do all sorts of other things, but what she really became known for was how many people she helped and that's a really big deal for me. I'd love to do more stuff like that.
But as far as acting goes, there are so many people I look up to. I love Amy Adams. I love her career. I think it's really great. I think Natalie Portman has a beautiful career. But, really, I kind of want to make my own mark.
You've got tons going on now, but what did you buy with your first Hollywood paycheck?
The biggest thing I bought — it was ridiculous — were a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. I think they were $1,500. What world was I living in that I thought I could spend half my paycheck on a pair of shoes? But I did it!
Do you still have them?
I still have them and they're still gorgeous!
What else do you have coming up?
"American Horror Story" on October 17 and then I have a couple of irons in the fire that I can't announce just yet, but hopefully very shortly, like next week or so. The sooner the better, right?
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You mentioned that you and Channing would like to work together again. Any thoughts on what that might be?
I personally would really like to do something musical where we could dance again together, or a musical film, or something like that because, well, it's obviously a really special thing for both of us and I think we could find something.
So you're actively looking for another film to make with your husband?
I'm looking! I'm looking for some musicals to revive from the past or something like that. I'm in a musical frame of mind right now I guess.