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Cherry Pop

Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill   ('22 Jump Street') Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill ('22 Jump Street')

'They're Baaaaack!'

The surprise success of '21 Jump Street' was due, in no small part, to the on-screen relationship between Jonah HIll’s Schmidt and Channing Tatum’s Jenko.

The boys are back in '22 Jump Street,' the follow-up film that finds them graduating from high school to college in an attempt to infiltrate a criminal organization … when they’re not drinking, partying, and wooing the ladies.

During a visit to the New Orleans set, our small group of online journalists had a chance to talk to Hill and Tatum about the sequel.

Talk a little bit about the expectations. The first movie came out and it was so awesome, so funny. Now, you guys have those expectations. So as producers/actors/writers, talk about that. Jonah Hill: "When we were writing this one, the biggest thing to keep in mind, like we did on the first one, was we called ourselves out for ..."

Channing Tatum: "How lame it was!"

Hill: "The lameness for the idea of taking a TV show and recycling it into a film. I think that worked to our benefit. We call ourselves out right out of the gate in this one, that sequels are bigger and crappier than the first ones. So, that’s kinda the approach we’re taking with this, to have a very aware attack at ourselves for making a sequel in the first place."

Is there a sense this time around that your character, Schmidt, kinda peaked in high school, so to speak? Hill: "No, but do you want to write for the movie," he laughs. "We could use all your input. Where were you when we were writing it? No, I don’t want to give too much away about what happens and stuff."

Tatum: "Yeah, in my opinion, you’ve given away too much already!"

At the end of the first movie, Schmidt is extremely excited about the idea of going to college; Jenko is not so much excited. I’m curious as to where that leads into this film? Tatum: "It leads right from there, right from that exact place," he now laughs.

OK, so why is he not excited to go to college?! Tatum: "It’s the same thing, you know. It’s just going to be an extension of high school, and it’s obvious because Jenko hates reading and he knows that, ultimately, there’s going to have to be reading in college."

Hill: "Again, we don’t want to give too much away, but it dives in to what our college experiences were like initially, and why we’d want to change and rewrite the past of that."

Tatum: "And why you would want to college to begin with: to have sex with the girls, to go on Spring Break, stuff like that … I don’t think we’re giving away too much, saying that stuff. But, there might be that in this movie," he laughs. "Maybe!"

Well, talk about how the college backdrop is different from high school. You guys had the high school parties, and you had to read and stuff in high school, as well. So how is college different for these guys? Tatum: "How do we answer this one?"

Hill: "It’s interesting to do an interview while you’re making a film because usually when we’d be doing these interviews, you’d have seen the film and would understand some of that stuff. Again, I just want it to be fun for everyone to watch it, so you don’t want to know too much going into it."

Tatum: "I don’t want you guys to be knowing what you’re going in to!"

Hill: "Yeah, but a lot of the stuff about college is figuring out who you are, your identity. A lot of the movie is about our relationship and about going to college with your hometown honey," he laughs, "and then the world opening up to you once you get to a new place."

Tatum: "We’re still in a girl/boy relationship."

Hill: "Exactly."

Tatum: "I don’t know who’s the girl, but ..."

Hill: "Well, Schmidt is probably … I don’t know, more feminine."

Can you talk about collaborating with Chris and Phil again? Tatum: "Dude, they’re awesome. They come from an animation world where, all this is almost painful for them. They’re like, “God I just want to get in there and edit.” They’re just like, “Put me in a dark room with an editor and a screen,” and that’s when they really want to make a movie. This is their second movie, really, and they’re so much more comfortable than the first time, but still when we get here, we’re just like, “Alright, there’s infinite possibilities about where the camera could go, where you’re going to set the people, what you’re going to have in the foreground,” and they’re just amazing to collaborate with because they’re not like, “It has to be this way. This is the way we’ve envisioned it.” They’re kind of like, they really want everybody’s input and they like to go on the fly. It’s just a lot of fun."

So, without giving stuff away, does this movie have bigger action scenes and bigger everything? Was that the aim when you were writing it? Tatum: "Yes!"

Hill: "Yeah, the basic idea is that, from Bad Boys to Bad Boys II."

Tatum: "But more ridiculous!"

Hill: "The idea is that … the initial thought when I was starting to write the first movie was, “Bad Boys meets a John Hughes movie.” And then, the only way to make fun ourselves in this movie is that sequels are more expensive and shittier than the first ones, so the idea is that, and what the guys have really been pulling off, Phil and Chris, is that it really does feel like a big giant movie, but with really stupid jokes in it, which is kinda great and super entertaining, hopefully."

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