Channing Tatum is a darling man. He’s a Good Dad, a talented actor, a great dancer, and he’s got excellent comedic timing that is criminally underestimated. Not to mention that he did an interview with New York Magazine a few years ago that talked about his newfound sculpting hobby, stating that Rodin was one of his greatest influences. Fellas, we stan a legend of adorable yet achievable Good Guy behavior.
Channing also happens to be a bicon! That’s right, Channing Tatum’s sexuality is not a secret and we are just so pleased to see someone be where he is in Hollywood and be an out-and-proud actor. We love to see it. In honor of our unproblematic fave, here is a list of movies where he was given top, or near-top billing, ranked by how queer they are.
White House Down
Possibly the least gay move ever made, regardless of Channing’s role in it. Two men have to do patriotic things in the midst of an emergency? I guess? There are explosions? Something goes wrong at some point? This B-list film is early in Channing’s career and It Shows. The only reason this even makes it on the list is because Channing’s arms in this film are a personal attack. 0.5/10
One of Channing’s more mature performances, however with no sexual tension building in between Channing and any of his other castmates, this film doesn’t rank very high on the list. It’s a fun film, and one of my personal favorites, but is it gay? No. Sebastian Stan tries to let the lez out with his yoga routine and strict diet, but he really doesn’t get there. He tries though, and we love him for it. Logan Lucky does get some credit because it’s about doing crime while watching NASCAR, which is absolutely what hillbilly queers do for a good time. 1/10
Another pretty straight film. There are some dance moves that Channing pulls off that definitely remind us that he used to be a go-go dancer, but not enough to really show us that he’s a total thirst trap. The straight romance ruins any gay build-up, which is fine as he does the Right Thing and marries Jenna Dewan a few years later. This entire movie is basically a real-life meet-cute so I guess we can deal with it. 2/10
This film could be considered the best film that Channing has ever starred in. It came out to high critical acclaim, and his performance was praised alongside its other two leading actors. There are a few reasons why this ranks right in the middle of this list. The first is that the straight anguish here is unmistakable, and Channing’s character never quite achieves the je ne sais quoi that we really need to see in order for a film to be queer. There’s no style here, no panache. Yes, being paid to train at a rich man’s house in order to be an Olympic wrestler is...suspicious, but the intense depression and truth that overshadows this film means that there’s really no room for queer interpretation. 3/10
21 Jump Street
Alright, we’re getting into the kind of gay movies. Kind of. As a remake of an old TV show, I won’t go into detail about the plot, but basically Channing works as an undercover cop in high school, and he realizes that he’s not as cool as he was ten years ago. Reliving your childhood in order to pursue your passions without judgment, or just finding new things you thought “weren’t for you” is a queer story! It’s reclaiming a childhood you never got to have. This isn’t a queer movie as in gay, but just kind of queer as in a way to find yourself again. 4/10
This movie is an extravaganza of camp space opera. I know that it’s pretty straight because of the weird straight love story and the wild mother-as-goddess plot, but honestly, Eddie Redmayne’s outfit alone screams Gay! It’s CAMP, DARLING! This whole movie, made by trans women, is so fucking queer that it would take a whole essay to parse it out. The costumes, the generation of bodies as means of personal transformation, the opera of legitimacy via bureaucracy, the anti-capitalist end of the film, the emphasis on loving your family even if they’re trash? It’s a Queer film!! You can read the queer messaging for DAYS. Not to mention that everything about Channing Tatum’s character in this movie is absolute wish fulfillment. A few negative points for the straight romance, but we can’t have it all, can we? 6/10
So, look. Channing’s part in Hail, Caesar! is small, but mighty gay. His claim to fame in this piece is when he’s dancing in the sailor’s bar, in a Very Campy sailor suit, tap dancing in between bottles and singing about ‘No Dames.’ He’s literally singing about how there won’t be any women on board a ship while kicking the foxtrot with other men and doing aerial steps where his head ends up in between another man’s legs. Lads, I don’t need to spell it out for you, but this...this is Gay. 7/10, but only because Channing’s character only has a few speaking lines in the movie.
Look we all know Magic Mike is meant to appeal to any person of any gender who is attracted to men. The entire movie is a thirst trap. We know that. We love it. We’re here for it. What makes it gay though, besides the absurdly sculpted bodies and the fact that it was co-written by a bisexual man (Channing Tatum!) about his life experiences after high school, is that this movie is about queerplatonic intimacy. It’s about being open with your friends in both absurdly sexualized theater experiences, and while separate from that experience. It’s about loving your friends, and being loved, betrayed, and hurt by them. It lures you in with mostly-naked men doing choreographed stripping routines, and then it HITS YOU WITH FEELINGS. It hits you hard, it makes you hurt and ache and wonder why on earth would anyone be that vulnerable during a performance? While being objectified? It hurts! There’s a longing and a strange desire between Mike and the Kid and I know, I Just Know, that Channing wrote it and played it as a love story On Purpose! It’s gay! It’s queer, this whole movie is just queer male intimacy and everyone needs to TAKE NOTES! However, sadly, there is a Straight Romance and we cannot fully lean into the queer. Still, a solidly gay movie. 8/10
Here it is. The gayest Channing Tatum movie Channing Tatum has ever made. The straight-up kinkiest, sexiest, most gender-confused movie he’s ever done. For those who don’t know, The Eagle was a moderately well-received 2011 release where Channing plays a Roman centurion, Marcus, who goes north of Hadrian’s wall in order to find a lost Roman standard. He’s accompanied by his slave, Esca (played by Jamie Bell), who has his own history to deal with. Most of the movie is Marcus and Esca traveling around in the English highlands.
A couple remarks to convince you - the relationship between Marcus and Esca is so homoerotic that it’s impossible to ignore, there is no straight romance whatsoever in the film for either character, and there is a shameless display of bodies at the very beginning of both character’s introductions. There are longing glances, moments of companionship, and points when they anticipate each other’s needs, moods, and even actions. They work together! They trust each other! They never betray each other! They give up parts of themselves to support the other! They wrestle around on the ground and it’s very! Sexually! Charged!! There’s also a moment in the film where Marcus looks up at Esca and says, in straight-up, a voice that is the epitome of queer longing and desperation, “I thought I’d lost you,” and that line is really everything. It’s everything. This is the queerest of Channing’s films, and I have to reiterate that the way that he says: “I thought I’d lost you,’ is an absolute choice, and everything about The Eagle is gay. It’s gay and any queer will agree with me. 10/10.
Linda H. Codega
Linda is a twenty-something millennial living and working in the Hudson Valley who loves fandom, pop culture, sailing, tarot cards, and crying in movie theaters. If you want to listen to them talk about pop culture, the repeating cycles of media, and those stories that we can’t get out of our heads, you can listen to their podcast, Retronym, on iTunes.