As early as 2012, Channing Tatum was open about how he wanted to become a director. In response to rumors that Magic Mike XXL would be his first film, Tatum expressed to Vulture that he wanted to “start with something very small … make a lot of mistakes, make them very early, and then jump into it [on the sequel].” Given the quasi-autobiographical nature of the first magic mike movie, it made sense that Tatum felt like his first foray into filmmaking should be in the magic mike universe. After all, staging is an inherently personal artistic task. So why not dive straight into directing with something that resonates with your own life?
In the end, Tatum’s personal connection to this story wasn’t enough to make Magic Mike XXL his directorial debut, however: Work on this film went to Gregory Jacobs. But Tatum’s aspirations to become a filmmaker continued to shine. These ambitions even, at one point, seemed to include her long gestation Gambit film, before the disappearance of this project. Tatum’s long hunt for a first film came to an end when he signed in November 2019 to direct and star in comedy Dog. With this film under his belt, Tatum finally made the leap from hunky leading man to filmmaker. This is a business that has lasted for years.