Steven Soderbergh is a miracle worker.
These days, George Clooney is about as close to a sure bet as you can find when it comes to awards season, both as an actor and as a filmmaker, and it’s easy to forget that when he made the jump from “E/R” to feature films, there was a struggle while he was trying to define himself.
These days, there is no real remnant of the tic that defined him at first, that weird sideways head thing he did where he’d sort of do the palsy shake while he was talking. The moment where he finally stopped doing that was when he worked for Soderbergh in “Out Of Sight,” and whatever happened between them, it transformed Clooney, and he’s never looked back.
I think the same thing might be going on right now with Channing Tatum, and it’s exciting. When we sat down to talk about his role in “Haywire,” we had a brief moment where we were trying to sort out some camera issues, and we started talking about the recent trailer release for “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” as well as my time on the set of the film.
Tatum’s a guy who has always projected a certain amour of reserve in the conversations we’ve had in the past, but this time around, it was like some switch had been thrown in him. He seems to be energized in a whole new way by the work he just did with Soderbergh, and the film they’re making right now, “Magic Mike,” was inspired in no small part by stories that Tatum told the filmmaker about his life before he broke into movies.
I’m happy to see this happen to Tatum. It’s obvious that he’s good in a room and he can get jobs, but if Soderbergh can loosen him up in front of the camera and we can start seeing more of the guy I sat across from on Sunday, it could be a very good thing, indeed. I’ll bring you more of that interview next week.
“Haywire” opens on January 20, 2012.