Interviews: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried Talk Twosome in ‘Dear John’

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CHICAGO – Hot young stars are always welcome on the playground of popular culture. Prime examples are Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, whose charming insights highlight their up-and-coming status in promoting their new film, “Dear John.”

Dear John is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, who has had several of his novels (”The Notebook,” “Nights in Rodanthe”) made into films. This narrative renders younger love, with John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) developing a relationship, despite John’s overseas military duties. It is through a series of letters that determine the peaks and valleys of their coupling, while at the same time the characters cope with family, illness and loss.

Pensive G.I. John: Channing Tatum in ‘Dear John’
Pensive G.I. John: Channing Tatum in ‘Dear John’
Photo credit: Scott Garfield for © 2010 Dear John LLC got a peek inside the characters that Tatum and Seyfried portrayed, and their perspective on the issues that are uniquely presented in their unconventional love story when interviewing them both recently. Channing, there was a certain mystery to your character regarding his past. What decisions did you and director Lasse Hallstrom make about him that added that mystery to him?

Channing Tatum: Well, through the book we learn that John definitely had a violent streak in his upbringing. I think it has to do with his frustration in not being able to communicate, considering he never learned any social tactics from his father. John really wants to be in touch with people, and I think that is what the whole film is about or him. He joins the military to get a sense of family, to get some skills as a man. Next he meets this beautiful girl that is going to take him to another level and teach him how to use his heart.

HC: Amanda, What was it about the character of Savannah that you related to?

Amanda Seyfried: It was a realistic love story. All the elements that surround the film were real-life scenarios. Things that we deal with as a society, where we were on 9/11, soldiers going overseas and people left behind. It’s something that people relate to.

Savannah is pretty strong-willed, but what really appealed to me is that she knew who she was. That is special, she’s a good role model.

Savannah on The Beach: Amanda Seyfried in ‘Dear John’
Savannah on The Beach: Amanda Seyfried in ‘Dear John’
Photo credit: Scott Garfield for © 2010 Dear John LLC

HC: Channing, the relationship that John has with his father [Richard Jenkins] is as front-and-center in the film as the love story. What kind of relationship did you want to establish, even though it was obvious they had drifted apart?

CT: It’s rare nowadays that kids relate to their parents, time and evolution and technology separates us so fast. That has echoes in this film. But through John loving Savannah it enables him to connect better with his father, in relationship to understanding your parents more as you grow up.

HC: Amanda, since you were portraying lovers in the film, what kind of working relationship did you have with Channing?

AS: He respects my work methods, because we have a very similar way that we like to work, which is to fool around as much as you can before the cameras roll. Making the film can be tedious, depending on the cast or material, so if you’re always in character or always in that mode it seems really difficult to keep it real for the camera. So we had a lot of play, he may seem serious but he ain’t (laughs). It was the best experience I’ve ever had doing a film.

Patrick McDonald and Channing Tatum in Chicago, January 28, 2010
Patrick McDonald and Channing Tatum in Chicago, January 28, 2010
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

HC: Channing, you said in the press notes you’re an admirer of Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the book that the film is based on. How does that insight help you with the character in this film?

CT: What I like about Sparks is that he does cathartic narrative very well. Most of his works are about communication and relationships, and there is always some miscommunication and a character that has problems with emotions. That is so relevant to how we communicate today – wanting to say something to someone but not saying it because of politeness or fear of not really being understood – so we tend to just censor ourselves.

HC: Amanda, the character of Savannah has a very unique journey in the film. What characteristic about her did you want to be front and center to give the audience an understanding about her?

AS: An open mindedness. I wanted to see the characters happy because of her openness, the way she was open hearted and free. It is important for the character of John to see that within her, to make him feel more comfortable and not be afraid of her.

HC: Channing, this is second time you’ve played an Iraq War-era soldier. What have you personally learned about the duty of someone who serves their country through John and your character Steve from “Stop-Loss”?

CT: It’s so hard to try and say what a real soldier goes through. If anything I will say that they are ordinary people going through extraordinary circumstances. I play them with those same normal people feelings and emotions.

Patrick McDonald and Amanda Seyfried, January 28, 2010
Patrick McDonald and Amanda Seyfried, January 28, 2010
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

HC: Finally Amanda, a question about the character of Sarah, which you’ve played for four years on “Big Love.” What opinion have you developed about the role of women in the religion that is depicted?

AS: The women portrayed on the show are tough, and it is so justified on the show. I almost cry thinking on how much these women need each other. They are sister-wives. There are times in life when you wish you could say something to your friends about their boyfriends or husbands. Well, in this show they they all feel that they can share with each other and strangely that is unnatural. It almost seems appealing in a way, because girlfriends are really important. It’s twisted, but they come to realize that this is their lives.

”Dear John” opens February 5th everywhere and features Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, Henry Thomas, directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2010 Patrick McDonald,

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