It wouldn’t be out of the question to say Channing Tatum is one of the most bankable stars working today. His career in the past few years has been a mix of popcorn blockbusters and more acclaimed fare, and he’s worked with some of the most renowned directors around, including Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Steven Soderbergh, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller. He’s funny as hell, can easily step into an action role, and, surprisingly, has some solid dramatic abilities, too.

But while most people credit Step Up with being the movie that put him on the map, many would be surprised to learn it was a movie released earlier in that year that really got the ball rolling. And he has Amanda Bynes to thank for it. Yes, you read that right.

Bynes, the once-troubled actress, has been out of the limelight for a few years getting herself together after an extended stint with drugs sent her off the rails and into rehab. But she’s happy and healthy and, what’s more, is ready to get back to work in Hollywood. She sat down for an interview with Paper magazine, her first in years. The conversation ranged from Twitter to her drug habit to her recent love of fashion design, and it also touched upon the fact that she could very well be credited with launching Channing Tatum’s career.

Back in 2006, Bynes was the star of She’s the Man, and Tatum starred opposite her as the leading man and her love interest. But if it hadn’t been for Bynes, he would never have been cast at all as producers weren’t sold on him. At the time he was barely recognized, with a handful of small, uncredited roles and a few commercials. It was the then-teenage Bynes who recognized Tatum’s talent and pushed to cast him in the movie:

“I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie because he wasn’t famous yet. He’d just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, ‘This guy’s a star — every girl will love him!’ But [the producers] were like, ‘He’s so much older than all of you!’ And I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter! Trust me!'”

It’s always weird to think of celebs before they were famous. On a logical level, you know Channing Tatum’s star has really only risen in the last decade or so. But it’s still strange to think of him as an unknown name toiling away in Mountain Dew commercials, considering what a superstar he is now. It’s pretty cool that Amanda Bynes can add “helped find Channing Tatum” to her resume. Luckily, with him voicing Superman in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part this coming February, we won’t have to wait long to be entertained again by his talent for balancing comedy and action.

(Header image credit: DreamWorks)


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