Actor Channing Tatum proved the main attraction Monday night for the high percentage of very young women who turned up at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, for the premiere of "21 Jump Street" — the comedic re-imagining of the 1980s-era television show. Cheers filled the auditorium as the cast and filmmakers took the stage following the screening, with Tatum and costar Jonah Hill dressed in the same ill-fitting bicycle cop uniforms they wear in the movie.
"It's a bromance," said Tatum, when asked about making the shift to comedy following his streak of romantic roles in films such as the recent "The Vow." Tatum was also asked by one questioner why he didn't take his shirt off in "Jump Street" and could he do so right there. Mentioning the amount of salty food and beer in both New Orleans, where the film was shot, and Austin, he declined.
"21 Jump Street" casts Hill as the brainy Schmidt and Tatum as his brawny partner Jenko, two fairly inept cops who are sent back to high school as part of an undercover effort to stop a drug ring. The mission puts them in the orbit of the cool clique, headed up by Dave Franco's ecologically minded Eric (the actor is James Franco's younger brother). Much of the comedy derives from how much has changed since Schmidt and Jenko were students — with Schmidt finding his geeky stride and Jenko spending some quality time with the misfit kids in the AV club.
Hill, who, along with Tatum, is also an executive producer on the film, seemed particularly excited about the uproarious response the R-rated film received from the crowd.
"No matter what happens next week," Hill said, "all the concerns of what happens to it, what happens when it goes in the world, we'll have this night forever."
Hill and Tatum were joined onstage by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, screenwriter Michael Bacall, actors Franco and Rob Riggle and the festival's Rebecca Feferman. Hill busted on Franco for his role in "Charlie St. Cloud," or, as HIll called it, the "Zac Efron ghost brother movie," while celebrating Riggle for an outrageously vulgar improvised stunt.
Those onstage also all discussed the not-to-be-spoiled-here surprise cameo in the film, which included years of legwork to pull of.
Hill joked throughout the Q&A about the possibility of a sequel and how any of them could potentially be replaced by Ryan Gosling. Getting serious for a moment, Hill noted, "All of us up here would love to do a sequel, but it's no longer in our hands. So if you tell your friends that the movie was great and they go watch it and it makes a bunch of money, then we will all be making a sequel very soon. If not, you will never see us ever again. It's in your hands, no longer ours."
— Mark Olsen, reporting from Austin, Texas
Photo: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in "21 Jump Street." Credit: Scott Garfield/Columbia Pictures.