Channing Tatum first danced his way into our hearts way back in 2006 when he starred in Step Up with his now-wife, Jenna Dewan Tatum. He showed off serious strip moves in the Magic Mike franchise, and now we’re seeing a more classic side of the crush-worthy actor’s skills in the Coen Brothers’ new Hollywood satire, Hail, Ceasar!, opening today.
The film revolves around a fictional 1950s movie studio, Capitol Pictures, and its cast of characters, all feverishly working on their own silver screen productions. Tatum plays actor Burt Gurney, a Gene Kelly-like song-and-dance man. But in true Coen Brothers form, Tatum’s big musical number “No Dames” is a tongue-in-cheek tap dancing extravaganza in which Tatum dons a sailor costume and croons with his comrades about the lack of lady loves at sea. The undertones are not-so-subtle by the end of the song.
Tatum reportedly learned tap and spent months preparing for the role, which is arguably the best part of this very meta movie-industry flick. The film also pokes fun at other Golden Age archetypes: the handsome but not-so-bright big-budget leading man, played to perfection by George Clooney (the Ceasar of Hail, Ceasar!); the cunning studio head (Josh Brolin); the not-so-innocent starlet (Scarlett Johansson); the spaghetti cowboy (you’ll see what we mean) played brilliantly by Alden Ehrenreich; the revered director (Ralph Fiennes); and the intrepid gossip columnist, times two—Tilda Swinton turns heads as twin reporters Thora and Thessaly Thacker!
With so many stars, it’s easy to get distracted, but watch carefully because Tatum plays a key part in the, ahem, bigger picture. With another clutch role in director Quentin Tarantino’s gory film The Hateful Eight, in theaters now, and a number of major movies in the pipeline that he’s producing, directing or starring in, Tatum is quickly becoming Hollywood’s new go-to guy. We’ll happily line up to see every one of his next moves—can he just dance his way through all of them?