Channing Tatum might be a lot of things on screen.
Off-screen he’s a single dad, and the best-selling author of three children’s books.
All three kids’ books were inspired by Tatum’s relationship with his own daughter, Everly.
Central to the storyline is Ella (aka Sparkella), who, with the help of her dad, learns the value of acts like how to combat peer pressure, having patience, and telling the truth.
Speaking with NBC Today, the White House Down and Jupiter Ascending actor said that writing the books helped him get his act together as a dad.
“I didn’t plan to be a single father. That wasn’t in the cards of my planning at least, and I was pretty nervous.”
“She’s a girl. So, I was looking up YouTube on how to braid hair because I didn’t want to be the dad just delivering his kid to school looking like she’d just slept on the street.”
“The books kind of came from that [experience],” Tatum added.
“It was really [me] trying to figure out how to talk to a little girl.”
Thinking back to how he was raised, Tatum also said that the creative process reflects parenting lessons he’s been unlearning, as much as learning.
Such as the importance of setting boundaries, and of being “strong”, yet not overbearing.
The former male model shares custody with ex-wife Jenna Dewan.
In June last year, Tatum told Fatherly, “Connecting with my daughter was crucial. I [simply] go into her world, and be there with her.”
Sometimes parents have to just “go along for the ride.”
Weighing fatherhood against Hollywood, the actor said, he’s “never ever been more creative in any movie or any creative venture” than he has in raising his 10-year-old daughter.
“I think writing these books is my way of trying to get specific about what I’ve learned, because being a kid is messy,” Tatum explained.
“And learning to be a parent is probably messier than being a kid.”
When asked about what he thinks makes a good dad, Tatum replied,
“I’d say the will, the want to show up, and just be present.”
Even if you never had a dad, overcome the fear of messing up, he said.
“Just try to do as much as you can. As long as you’re engaged with your kids on any level, you’re going to do the best job that you know how to do at that moment.”
The best part about being a dad is creating wholesome memories that will last a lifetime.
For example, “kids noticing the little things,” and asking us to do them, like reading a book, or giving the characters their own voice.
On being a dad, the former male model recounted,
“I was on set talking to someone and said, ‘I’m having a girl… I feel like I’m going to screw it up.’”
An extra then said to him,
“I have four of them. As long as you love them, you’re going to be fine.”
Coming to the Silver Screen
Tatum’s dad-life best-sellers are set to become a film, with the actor taking the helm as producer and co-star.
Last year, Forbes revealed that MGM, alongside Tatum’s production company, Free Association, plan to transmute the dad-and-daughter semi-biographical books into Silver Screen gold.
Talking potential cinema adaptation, Tatum channelled his inner Tarantino, saying he was adamant the intention was a “good one.”
“For me, it just kind of calls back late 70s, 80s, and like early 90s kids movies.”
Those films, “reached this other level of reality and ‘magic’ that you just don’t see in movies anymore. They don’t exist [today].”
Unsure if the film will ever happen, Tatum said he’s still keen on backing the idea.
He told Forbes that the concept encourages mums, dads, and their kids to rediscover a world where “they need each other to be able to solve problems” and overcome them.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons