Phil Lord on ’22 Jump Street’s’ Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill: ‘Like Watching a Mountain Lion and a Baby Become Friends’


Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill joined their cast and a large group of rowdy college students equipped with a DJ, foam fingers and a bazooka t-shirt launcher that Tatum could not resist at the premiere of “22 Jump Street” Tuesday night at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, Calif.

This time around everyone seemed to be more at ease when it came to making the sequel, especially Tatum who wasn’t sure he would be funny enough when he signed on for “21 Jump Street.”

“This time he was much more comfortable,” said co-director Christopher Miller. “He’s even better this time. He was more confident. The first time he was worried that he might be embarrassed, but this time he had no trepidation at all.”

PHOTOS: More from the ’22 Jump Street’ Premiere + Other Parties and Events This Week

Tatum told Variety that he felt more comfortable with comedy. “To get to do a sequel just in general is crazy,” he said. “You get to come back in and embody the same character, so you don’t have to figure it out for the first two weeks. Just to come out and hang out with your buddies it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done.”

Producer Neal H. Moritz said he remembered telling Tatum that he doesn’t have to try to be funny. He told Tatum to just be himself.

For Hill, making a comedy is not so much about getting into the character, but to be a leader on set.

“Schmidt is basically act like an idiot until the movie ends,” said Hill. “It was more about actually constructing the film itself. With a comedy for me it’s not as much about like staying in character the whole time as much as it’s about being one of the architects of the film and having to make sure everything doesn’t completely fall apart.”

When it comes to the duo, co-director Phil Lord talked about their unquestionable chemistry.

“It’s like watching a mountain lion and a baby become friends,” Lord said. “They’re natural predators and the fact that they’re buddies, it’s so heartwarming. I feel like people can’t look away.”

“From the first time we sat down at Dan Tana’s restaurant to discuss making the first movie, it was just so obvious with the two of them sitting there that there was just this natural chemistry,” Moritz added.

The two are so close that in a recent interview Tatum revealed that they had a bet after making the first film that Hill said if the movie closed over $35 million he would kiss the tip of Tatum’s penis. And the movie did just that — closing $36 million.

This time Hill stayed quiet when asked about box office predictions for the sequel. “Gambling is out of Jonah’s career forever,” laughed Tatum. “He will never gamble again.”

“My gambling career has come to an abrupt end,” Hill said.

Back at “Jump Street,” Hill and Tatum head to college to bust another drug case with Ice Cube reprising his role as Captain Dickson.

Cube has earned some flack for not laughing all that much. “When they pay me to laugh I’m very funny. You know Captain Dickson don’t laugh, so ain’t no laughing on the set. It’s serious business.”

Other guests included Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Anna Faris, Dave Franco, Patton Oswalt, Wyatt Russell, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Kellan Lutz, Rob Riggle, Busy Philipps, Richard Grieco and Peter Stormare, Sony execs Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton, Hannah Minghella and MGM’s Gary Barber.

The after party continued at the W Hotel with drinks served in red solo cups and jello shots being passed around for guests to enjoy.

MGM and Columbia Pictures’ “22 Jump Street” premieres this Friday, June 13.