In White House Down, Jamie Foxx plays President Sawyer, a first term leader who in the film’s opening moments has made a controversial decision to push for peace in the Middle East. Channing Tatum plays a Capitol Police Officer named Cale, who dreams of being a Secret Service Agent. As teased in the White House Down trailer, when Cale brings his daughter to the White House for his Secret Service interview and a tour, the building comes under attack.
The duo sat down to talk about their Roland Emmerich thriller (Vote for Roland Emmerich's best movie) and what it is about the Independence Day director that would have them coming back in a heartbeat.
“You know he loves the action,” Tatum said of Emmerich.
“I didn’t know how much I would love working with Roland, as this movie got thrown together pretty fast. I’ve had so much fun making this movie. I will do anything with this guy. I can’t wait to work with him again. When you see him at the monitors -- you can always tell if a director loves what he does -- usually they’re stressed out. We’ve had the longest days on this film, and he’s as chipper as you can possibly be. He leads from the front.”
Foxx found that Emmerich is the rare breed of helmer that heads up an action movie spectacle of such mass, yet still possesses the vision to allow for actors' suggestions.
“You work for some directors who have it all mapped out and it’s all ironclad, which is fine. You have to be disciplined as an actor. But with Roland, he tells you where we are, but you can dance around any way you want to and when we get too far off, he pulls you back in,” Foxx said.
“It’s great to have someone who allows you to bring in your voice and he shapes them in the way that he can get his movie executed.”
Tatum also thinks that Emmerich has had such success because he is as well-versed as directors come… something that is a priceless quality in a movie helmer.
“The movie is the mirror of the director. If the director doesn’t have any style with his clothing, there will be an aesthetic missing in the movie. If you don’t know what real friendship or love is, you might understand it intellectually, but you won’t physically understand it emotionally and it won’t be in the film,” Tatum added.
Foxx had only watched Tatum from afar, and was blown away by not only the talent of his co-star, but the command he has for the physicality required of his role.
“Channing Tatum is at the top of his game as far as being a movie star right now. I think this is a fresh look for him from Step Up where he was an incredible dancer to The Vow, where he was a heartthrob and then Magic Mike,” Foxx said.
In this White House Down clip, it’s easy to see what happens after the White House tour that Tatum is on with his daughter goes haywire. The man who dreams of being a Secret Service Agent winds up alongside Foxx’s President Sawyer, and must do everything possible to ensure the leader of the free world lives to see another day. Foxx marveled at Tatum’s action hero abilities.
“He is getting physical throughout. He’s throwing people around,” Foxx said. Although the man who plays the Prez didn’t have to do as much action-wise, he was still required to do his part… something Foxx clearly relished.
“I play a president who’s good with his hands. If he had to fight, he could do that. But, guns, for my character… he says at one point, ‘I don’t even hunt. This is all Greek to me.’”
Tatum was drawn to the role, not only for joy of playing the action hero, but also the father to a daughter aspect… something he knows personally now that Tatum has daughter Everly. “There’s a thing in the movie where he wanted to be his daughter’s hero. And when he comes back from running away from a lot of his problems, he realizes that he’s not her hero anymore,” Tatum said.
His character’s daughter is fascinated by the President, so Cale figures if he can’t be her hero, he’ll help to try to protect the guy who is. “I think it’s sweet and it’s what he’s good at. If he can get love and respect from his daughter trying to protect the President, then it can connect them,” Tatum said.
The multi-faceted star also enjoyed getting in on the action and figured why not dive in, it’s better for the audience. “I like watching real actors going through stunts. I always say, ‘If there’s a window, why wouldn’t you want to see the actor’s face go through the window and not cut away?’ It doesn’t hurt to go through a window! It just looks like it does. So, I got to do that and I enjoy it.”
Although he has used a bevy of weapons in the past, in films such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation, in White House Down… there were new things to add to his movie arsenal. “I’ve had a lot of weapons training in the past. But I’ve gotten to use some weapons on this that I’ve never used before so it was pretty cool,” Tatum said. Although he does have one regret and it involves the state-of-the-art tank-like Presidential limousine.
“I wish I got to drive The Beast a little more than I did!” he said, laughing.