Channing Tatum's a pretty brawny guy, in case you hadn't noticed.
And he's also a gentleman, which means being asked to hit a woman--multiple times--in Steven Soderbergh's new ensemble thriller Haywire, gave him pause.
"In the beginning of the movie I have to hit her with a ketchup bottle," Tatum said today durin the Relativity panel at Comic-Con, referring to MMA fighter Gina Carano, who's making her feaure-film debut. "I couldn't do it."
But, of course, he had to do it. So what did his desirable and deadly costar do to break the ice?
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"Then she called me the female P-word, and then I had to do it for my manity," he recalled, "so I hit her. Then she hit me back twice as hard, and I didn't want to do it anymore!'
Probably the same went for all the guys--such as Michael Fassbender, who's almost the victim of strangulation-by-thigh--who had to grapple with Carano during the grueling shoot, especially considering she was extra pumped for the fight scenes.
"I think I woke up everyday with a fresh perspective," she said of making the film and going through "Acting 101" with Soderbergh. "It was a crazy adrenaline rush. Every single day I didn't know what to expect...I really liked the physical stuff."
But the experience also "ruined movies for a couple of months for me because I noticed everything...It's definitely a skill and I don't think everyone's capable of doing it--like fighting. I don't know, it was beautiful."
"Each fight was special in all the right ways," Carano said."The Fassbender scene"--which was screened for the panel audience--"was just reckless and I just loved getting banged into all of that stuff. That was a blast."
That was also the moment when a dozen fanboys needed oxygen.
As for one of Tatum's upcoming projects, a GI Joe sequel costarring Dwayne Johnson, the close-shaven star said he was sworn to secrecy.
"I'm not allowed to talk about the story," he said. "Dwayne said he would pop my head off if I said anything. But I love the Rock. He's a gargantuan man and a great actor and I can't wait to act with him."
So, what other Hall H happenings tickled our fancy today?
- John Cusack was serenaded with an iPad during the part of Relativity's panel devoted to The Raven, a Seven-meets-From Hell mystery about a serial killer mimicking death scenes from Edgar Allan Poe stories. Cusack plays Poe, the "godfather of goth," as he called him today. Luke Evans (who's also in The Hobbit and TKTK) plays the young, ambitious detective-inspector who at first suspects and then teams with the doomed Poe to solve the crimes. "He was at home in the gutter or at the very heights of lofty society, but then he'd go down to the shipyard and tie one on for four days," Cusack said of his character. The movie, shot in Serbia, looks gloomy, violent and awesome.
Up next for the film's principals, Cusack is doing The Paper Boy with Lee Daniels, Alice Eve just wrapped Men in Black III, director James McTeigue is "just trying to finish The Raven" before moving on to Message From the King, and Evans is in the upcoming Immortals, playing a psychopathic killer in No One Lives and is in, "oh yeah, The Hobbit. How can I forget about The Hobbit? Uh-oh, sorry, Peter."
- Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, received a rock star response when he appeared for Screen Gems' Attack the Block segment. The disheveled yet dashing Brit, along with writer-director Joe Cornish and one of the film's stars, John Boyega, made a major splash with their funny, gory and totally smart indie about an alien invasion in South London . Nick Frost plays the stoner friend of a bunch of streetwise kids whose fortress-like "weed room" makes for a promising hiding place when the nasty critters attack.
- Colin Farrell was called to the stage and then amiably back-pedaled off when the moderator of the Fright Night 3D panel realized he meant to bring out writer Marti Noxon first. He was an amiable gentleman throughout, even signing his namecard for a young lady in the audience--and unintentionally flashing a little crack to director Craig Gillespie behind him. We didn't see the rear view, but we did get to see a bunch of the film. The script appears to be your garden-variety teen horror stuff, but the 3D really kicks in when Colin's vampire, Jerry, engages Anton Yelchin's Charlie, his mom (played by Toni Collette) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots) in a car chase that escalates when Jerry's hand bursts through the car's floor. "Oh s--t, it's a f--ked-up vampire hand!" Charlie yells. That's right up there with, " Don't take too long, Mrs. Cullen," as far as we're concerned.
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- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are insane. Not in a lock-em-up kind of way, but in an even-Nicolas-Cage-says-so kind of way.
"You saw on the other segment," the Oscar winner said, "Mark is on roller blades holding onto incredibly fast motorcycles and literally risking his life to get a shot, I think, to entertain you. And I think it's infectious. We all feel it and we get up for the occasion and we get into the adrenaline mindset, or frame of fmind. I'm not going to say 'in the zone'... They're extremists and I feel that I'm an extremist. And the good news is, we get along. We push each other and came up with ideas together and we became friends. It was a perfect marriage."
Or as Idris Elba put it, "With these guys you have no safety. These guys will throw you under the bus." Literally, in this case.
- The cast of 30 Minutes or Less, which made for one of the funniest panels of the day, must have caught staffers during their break or something, because Michael Pena and Aziz Ansari spent the whole time with Johnny Whitworth and Idris Elba namecards in front of them, leftovers from Ghost Rider panel. The issue was quickly remedied for the stunning Total Recall cast. Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride--who sent his well-wishes via video--couldn't make it, but Pena, Ansari, Nick Swardson and director Ruben Fleischer (of Zombieland fame) made for a fun group.
And Fleischer let us in on his next project: He'll direct Gangster Squad, with Sean Penn as real-life gangster Mickey Cohen and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the LAPD detectives looking to take him down.
- Total Recall may have kicked all their asses in terms of sheer presence on the stage, much of it coming from Bryan Cranston, who's doing villain honors. Joining him were Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, John Cho, and director Len Wiseman. Cranston cracked everyone up when asked how all of his recent mega-success has affected him, and he replied, "My butler still puts my pants on one leg at a time. In fact, I was talking about it with my limo driver..." And, when asked about his character in the film, Farrell describe him this way: "I play Douglas Quaid, an Austrian ex-pat who rises to prominence in the world of body-building, then continues into a very successful career in film, only to find that to be the perfect foundation for a budding career in politics."
Or, "a man who's basically lost himself somewhere along the road of life and doesn't even know it and basically is living in a dream, somebody who's suspicious that many of those around him are not who they seem to be--as many of us are in our lives--and gets a rude awakening about 15 minutes into the film." We saw it. And, except for the fact that all the cops looked like Imperial Stormtroopers, the effects are neat.