In a wide-ranging new interview with Variety, the actor detailed his decision to step away from acting for a few years. Tatum, 41, explained that he felt burned out after starring in four films "back to back," particularly after he shot the last two: the 2014 comedy, "22 Jump Street, and the 2015 space opera film, "Jupiter Ascending."
"I felt like I was the fat kid at the buffet, just working and working and working," Tatum recalled to Variety. "I took four movies back to back without any time off."
"I wasn't as good as I wanted to be in those last two movies because I didn't have the energy," he added.
While "22 Jump Street" performed well at the box office and was well-received by critics, "Jupiter Ascending" bombed and received bad reviews.
"'Jupiter Ascending' was a nightmare from the jump," Tatum said of the film. "It was a sideways movie. All of us were there for seven months, busting our hump. It was just tough."
The "Logan Lucky" star admitted that he considered walking away from Hollywood altogether in 2018. In April of that year, Tatum and Jenna Dewanannounced they were separating after nearly 9 years of marriage. The former couple share daughter Everly, 8.
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"Do I want to act anymore?" Tatum recalled asking himself at the time. "Was I going to direct? Do I want to be in the industry anymore? I got lucky. I won a creative lottery ticket. I made a little bit of money, so I could take a step back and figure out what life is."
Fortunately, following his hiatus, fans will see the "Magic Mike" star back on the big screen in not one, but two films soon. Tatum will star in the comedy, "Dog," which comes out on February 18, and the action-adventure rom-com, "The Lost City," opposite Sandra Bullock, which hits theaters on March 25. The former marks both Tatum and "Magic Mike" screenwriter Reid Carolin's feature film directorial debut.
Meanwhile, also during his interview with Variety, Tatum opened up about the axed stand-alone superhero film, "Gambit," based on the "X-Men" mutant of the same name. According to Variety, Tatum and Carolin spent four years working on the project.
"The studio really didn't want us to direct it," Tatum told Variety. "They wanted anybody but us, essentially, because we had never directed anything."
However, Tatum said he was willing to give up directing "Gambit" because of how much he loved the script, which had been co-written by Carolin and "resembled the tone of "Deadpool," as Variety noted.
Tatum went on to praise the character of Gambit, saying, "They would call him 'flamboyant' in his description. I wouldn't -- he was just the coolest person. He could pull anything off. Most superheroes, their outfits are utilitarian. Batman's got his belt. Gambit's like, 'No, this s---s just fly, bro! This s---walked down the Paris runway last year.' He's just wearing the stuff that’s so dope because he loves fashion."
Sadly, after several problems during development, including different directors attached to the project and pushed back released dates, "Gambit" was ultimately canceled in 2019 following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
Tatum said he's still dealing with the heartbreaking fact that the film never saw the light of day. In fact, he said he can't even bring himself to watch "any" Marvel films.
"Once 'Gambit' went away, I was so traumatized," Tatum recalled. "I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven't been able to see any of the movies."
"I loved that character," he added. "It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him."