Jenna Dewan Tatum doesn’t beat around the bush, do mom guilt (anymore), or understand why women put their own needs last. Talking to her is like getting the best sort of pep talk — kind, smart, and no BS.
REDBOOK – Jenna Dewan Tatum prefers a warm hug over a swift introductory handshake, and leans in close to chat like she’s an old confidant. But don’t mistake all that niceness for compliance. “I always say that I have a fairy side and an edgy side,” she tells me over a late-afternoon lunch in Los Angeles. Drawing on a mix of girliness and grit has worked for the 36-year-old actress, who left college to be a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and then pirouetted onto the big screen alongside Channing Tatum in 2006’s Step Up. The film ignited a real-life romance between the two, who married in 2009 and now have a 3-year-old daughter, Everly.
Jenna’s since had splashy supporting roles on hit TV shows like American Horror Story and Supergirl, but has lately turned her focus to projects that allow her more control. Before signing on to host the new NBC competition series World of Dance, she says, “I told them, ‘If you want Ryan Seacrest, hire Ryan Seacrest.’ I love working with dancers. If there’s a way to incorporate that, then I’m excited.” She got her way, and when the show premieres this month, she’ll mentor contestants, or as she says, be their “mama bear and backstage cheerleader.” With Channing, she’s producing a web series based on Step Up — but their most important shared project hits even closer to home: “”We want our daughter to grow up confident and believing that she can go after whatever she wants.” So it’s no shocker that Jenna has great pointers on embracing independence, raising strong girls, and tapping your inner power at any age.
On finding time to connect with her husband, Channing Tatum:
“We are not sex schedulers – not yet! Give us a couple more years. Maybe with child number two. There’s a beauty in being two busy people because we get a lot of time to miss each other. To continue to miss someone after so many years is kind of a blessing in disguise.”
On her biggest relationship challenge:
“Communication. You change when you’re together from 25 to 35. I think maybe in my early 20s, I might have tiptoed around issues or didn’t want to make too many waves. Now it’s like, “This is how I’m feeling.” You have to be okay with the other person becoming defensive, to let them be emotional and accept that it won’t be okay for a while.”
On keeping her relationship exciting:
“I think all women should keep it exciting for themselves. People always ask, “Do you do anything to keep it fresh for your man?” I hate that question. I’m like, “No. Why is it for your man? I do things to keep it fresh for myself. The lingerie I buy is not for him necessarily. It’s for us and for myself. If you feel sexy, then it’s good for you.”
On being a feminist — and having a feminist husband:
“We should want equality for men and women. Men should want that too. Chan is for women’s rights and so am I. Women should have the right to be the best they can be and make their own choices for themselves. Our daughter is young, but I think as she gets older, she’s going to be all about the standard for women we keep at home — she’s going to be strong.”
For more from Jenna, pick up the May issue of Redbook on newsstands April 18.
YouTube is making its first big scripted series bet, giving a straight-to-series order toStep Up, a drama series from Lionsgate TV based on the film franchise that grossed $650 million at the global box office. The show will begin production later this year and will debut on YouTube Red next year as the subscription video service’s first full-fledged, big-budget original drama series. It is one of several new series unveiled today at Vidcon by YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels, along with Rhett & Link’s Buddy System, Dan & Phil’s Tour Documentary, Vlogumentaryand a Michael Stevens project. She also announced the renewals of Scare Pewdiepie, Foursome and untitled Smosh movie.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who co-starred in the original Step Upfilm, will executive produce the series adaptation along with the movies’ producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton.
The Step Up series is described as a heart-pounding, sexy, music-filled drama about dancers in a contemporary performing arts school.
The original Step Up (2006), was followed by four other movies – Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up: 3D, Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In. The last two films were released by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label.
“I’ve been a fan of the Step Up movies for years and always believed the films would translate into an awesome original series,” said Daniels. “We know that dance is a hugely successful global category on YouTube, so I’m excited to have a series rooted in such an enormously popular genre on our platform.”
This is the latest example of Lionsgate TV helping a fledgeling original scripted player get into the space. The studio previously did it with AMC (Mad Men), Netflix (Orange Is the New Black), WGN America (Manhattan) and Epix (Graves), among others.
“Step Up is an incredible property with the global appeal to launch both a blockbuster film franchise and an exhilarating, high-energy series,” said Lionsgate TV Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. “After five exciting and successful movies, we’re proud to partner with YouTube Red, a major new force on the programming landscape, to adapt the films into an adrenaline-filled original drama series driven by its non-stop energy, spectacular dancing and A-list creative talent.”
Daniels, who joined YouTube a year ago, is encouraged by the early response to original series by Red subscribers. “With nine projects launched, we’re seeing fans sign up, tune in, binge and share their enthusiasm with their friends,” she said. “And a ton of this activity is happening in just the first 24 hours after our new series go live.”
Supergirl has been cleared for takeoff for Season 2 — though from a new launch pad.
The CW will take over as the new home for the superhero drama, which in October debuted on CBS to 13 million total viewers and a 3.1 demo rating, tying NBC’sBlindspot as the 2015-16 TV season’s top-rated drama launch.
And speaking of new homes, TVLine can confirm that Supergirl will move production to Vancouver, after setting up shop in Los Angeles for its maiden voyage. At this very early stage, sources say there is nothing to report yet, either way, on Calista Flockhart‘s participation in the relocation away from L.A.
Starring Glee grad Melissa Benoist in the title role, Supergirl averaged 7.7 million viewers and a 1.7 rating, numbers which with Live+7 DVR playback swell to 10 mil/2.5. Its freshman finale last month did 6.1 mil and a 1.3 in Live+Same Day numbers.
One of Supergirl‘s most popular outings featured a crossover from the star of The CW’s The Flash, Grant Gustin, which boosted the CBS series to a 7-week high in the demo.