The world was a wildly different place in 2006. George W. Bush was president. Miley Cyrus was still a Disney star. Amanda Bynes was one of Hollywoods most promising ingenues, landing glossy magazine covers and leading roles in big studio movies. And Channing Tatum was an unknown stripper-turned-actor, who had booked bit parts on CSI: Miami and an uncredited role in a Ricky Martin music video. It seems like a lifetime ago that we likely wouldnt have remembered, given the current frenzied news cycle—had Amanda Bynes not recently reminded us of this very moment in time herself.
In a new interview for Paper Magazine, Bynes recalled 2006s Shes the Man—a modern take on Shakespeares Twelfth Night in which she starred—as being a tipping point in her mental health. She also noted, as a bit of a sidebar, that she pushed for a then-unknown Tatum to be cast as her love interest in the film. “I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie because he wasnt famous yet,” Bynes said. “Hed just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, This guys a star—every girl will love him! But [the producers] were like, Hes so much older than all of you! And I was like, It doesnt matter! Trust me!”
Bynes was right! In the 12 years that passed, in the finicky town that is Hollywood, their stars have seesawed—with Channing Tatum, at present, being the $2 billion actor-producer who expanded his Magic Mike film into a lucrative franchise comprising stage shows. And Bynes—after a drug-addled burnout and Twitter meltdown—has gotten sober, retired from acting, and is pursuing a career in fashion. (Though clearly, she would also do well if she decided to pursue casting.)
Tatum and Bynes presumably dont stay in touch. But on Wednesday, Tatum was walking the red carpet at the premiere of Londons Magic Mike Live, when he was asked about Byness recent comments. “I love her,” Tatum said of his long-ago rom-com love interest. The actor acknowledged that Bynes “sort of told me” she had fought for his casting. And Tatum, like much of the world, seemed relieved that Bynes is doing well these days.
“Im so happy shes killing it again and just back on the right track. . . . Shes so talented and so special.” Speaking about her career start as a child actor, he continued, “I think its so impossible when you start at such a young age to keep perspective. Its tough.” But he had only good things to say about Bynes, recalling how vibrant she was on set. “She was just so alive. When I say you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth . . . She was just on fire. I havent seen her in so long. I love her, and I hope shes doing good.” Isnt that nice!
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Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Julie MillerJulie Miller is a Senior Hollywood writer for Vanity Fairs website.