One look and it's easy to imagine Channing Tatum's early career as a pinup for Dolce & Gabbana and an extra in Ricky Martin's ''She Bangs'' video. What's surprising about the 26-year-old star of STEP UP which earned $20.7 million over its opening weekend is that he never studied dance: ''I basically freestyled a lot,'' he says. ''I'm really good at physical things.'' Well, then. Not only does the ex-football player have rhythm, he has charisma to spare as evidenced by turns in this year's SHE'S THE MAN and Sundance fave A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, a coming-of-age indie set in Queens, out Sept. 29. But the Florida native is most excited about shooting Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce's long-awaited, untitled follow-up film. Tatum and Ryan Phillippe play Iraq vets brought home and immediately ordered back overseas. ''The material is so good,'' says Tatum. ''Some of the best I've ever read.'' Luckily, there's no dancing required.