Channing Tatum: “I Have Never Considered Myself A Very Smart Person”
Channing Tatum opens up about his struggles with ADHD and dyslexia as a student, admitting in the latest issue of T Magazine that he has learned more from other people than he has from school.
“I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons,” says the actor. “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I’m at. Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either. So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different.”
The Magic Mike XXL star notes, “The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did.”
Tatum, who famously got his start as a stripper and model before he headed to Hollywood, questions why no one ever thought to introduce him to the arts when he was struggling as a student.
“It’s just weird that for some people art is a luxury,” he tells the magazine. “My parents had no artistic outlet. Some people pass down music to their kids, but I couldn’t tell you what my mom’s or dad’s favorite song is. So when I started going out into the world, I was drawn to people who knew about movies, art, even fashion. I went to New York and did the whole modeling thing, and I just learned everything I could from anybody who knew something I didn’t.”
“I’ve had a few John du Ponts in my life, to be honest,” he said referencing the mentor turned convicted murderer portrayed by Steve Carrell in their upcoming film Foxcatcher.
The actor notes, “I think that’s one thing I’m pretty skilled at. I can look at a person and say, They’ve got something that I want up there in their head. I’m going to do my best to get in there and absorb it. My mom said, ‘Be a sponge.’ And so I’ve learned more from people than I have from school or from books.”
Tatum doesn’t have any regrets about his past and believes his unusual path to stardom has made him a better actor.
“Being a stripper exposed me to a lot of people I might never have met, and that has turned out to be a gift,” he explains. “There are lots of characters I feel I can play as a result. So when people tell me they want to act, I’m like, Okay, if you want to act, go see America. If you can afford gas money, go talk to people and see how they really live. Sure, you can go to theater class at a young age. That’s not how I did it.”
He adds, “I would have loved to learn things earlier than I did, but then maybe I wouldn’t have gone and done the things that gave me insight into what it is to be human — to have fears and wants. Like the fear of asking a girl out on a date when I can’t afford dinner at Chili’s, so instead maybe we go to Checkers and I make it cool by turning it into a picnic, put the burgers in a basket of my mom’s and try to make it romantic. That’s the kind of worry I used to have.”
What do you think of Tatum’s comments?