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Channing Tatum to the Rescue in ‘White House Down’

Even in a suit and tie, Channing Tatum managed to look cool inside the Ziegfeld Theater’s sweltering plastic tent with its malfunctioning A/C where Sony rolled the red carpet June 25 for “White House Down.”

The “Magic Mike” star won cheers from onlookers when he arrived with Jamie Foxx, escorted by motorcycle mounted police in a black “presidential” SUV decorated with “bullet” marks, a wink to Roland Emmerich’s latest summer movie assault on the White House.

Tatum had only a nine-week slot before his “Foxcatcher” began filming when he opted to play D.C. cop John Cale in “WHD.”

“Look, I grew up on the ‘Die Hard’s and those 1990s movies. For me this is a crazy film that at the time was really important to me. This country is really divided, and Americans turning on each other was interesting,” he said of the thriller that sees disgruntled right wingers seize the iconic building.

“There are a couple of reasons for Channing to do this,” added Reid Carolin, Channing’s six-foot-six producing partner. “We wanted to work with Jamie Foxx and Roland Emmerich, that’s number one. And we could produce it, which is great. And two, we were fascinated by telling a story that’s a political satire disguised as a mass entertainment. I like that we’re not just doing another superhero movie, we’re not just going and taking an old movie that’s been done before and remaking it. We came up with something new that’s reacting to issues that we’re going through today, but that’s making it fun and palatable. The war in the Middle East, the war on terrorism, that’s a massive debate, the elections. We’re a country divided. I like a movie that injects steroids into those issues.

Emmerich, in red Converse sneakers, laughed off the notion of “a political satire disguised as a big-summer popcorn movie. You could call it that,” he said, “but it’s just funny.”

Not so funny — “really not very comfortable,” he said — was having his leading man for only nine weeks.

“When you let somebody out and have to shoot another nine months it’s like you’re doing research or something, because you’ve already shot the most important parts and then you have to shoot the other missing parts. But I don’t think it hurt the movie,” Emmerich added.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, a veteran of Christopher Nolan’s superhero trilogy, took another issue very seriously when asked, who does a better job of saving the White House: Tatum or Batman?

As she pondered the notion, her publicist whispered, “Channing.”

“Yeah, right,” Gyllenhaal said with a laugh as she repeated the question before deciding, “I’d like to see them work together.”

So much for her Secret Service work here — she’d be an ideal speaker of the house.

The afterparty was held uptown in the stately Frick Collection Mansion, where there was not a bullet hole in sight.

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