Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are recounting their meet-cute, but the details are proving…controversial. It was 2007, apparently, right after Hill starred in Superbad and Tatum in Step Up. They were familiar with each other’s work, but had never met until one fateful night at West Hollywood’s Dan Tana’s, where they happened to catch each other’s eye across the restaurant…
”Hold up, hold up,” interrupts Tatum, 34. ”It wasn’t after Step Up. It was The Vow or something.” Hill, 30, rolls his eyes. ”The Vow was, like, way later,” he says. ”That was right before Jump Street came out, dumbbell. You don’t know your own filmography?” Tatum shakes his head, saying, ”Are you sure? I don’t think so.” They playfully bicker over the details for two minutes, sounding more like the stars of You’ve Got Mail than this summer’s biggest buddy comedy, 22 Jump Street (rated R, out now), in which they play undercover cops pretending to be college students to track down a drug dealer.
Rapport can’t be faked, and that’s one reason that the stars’ 2012 comedy 21 Jump Street took in more than $200 million worldwide. At the time, the idea of pairing Hill, the schlubby joker, and Tatum, the action hero with a highly marketable torso, was an epic reach across the aisle. But in comedy, as in romance, opposites often attract: Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, Tom and Jerry. ”Jonah and Channing are really different humans, and it’s remarkable that they get along so well,” says director Phil Lord, who along with his own comedic better half, Christopher Miller, directed both Jump Street films. ”That’s what’s hilarious about it.”
When we met the two actors on May 16 at L.A.’s Milk Studios, that difference was evident. Hill sat on the edge of the couch, leaning forward as he pattered and joked his way through the interview, while Tatum lay back beside him, tossing in a comment here and there. Hill dressed in a custom tee with ”James Franco” in intersecting cruciform letters; Tatum sported a button-down work shirt fit for a former roofer. On the surface, it’s the kind of haphazard matchup you’d expect from a college housing board, but soon it’s clear these two were meant to be together. (Even if Tatum already has a wife, Jenna Dewan, and a 1-year-old daughter, Everly.)
You two have great chemistry. The only other pair I can think of with something similar are Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, and they’re dating, so…
Jonah Hill [Laughs] We actually were on a plane ride from Mexico to New York one time with just the four of us on it.
Channing Tatum It was kinda strange. I was like, are we the cuter couple? If I wasn’t with my wife and Jonah had lady parts, I would probably ask him out.