Channing Tatum finds love in Notebook writer’s Dear John

By Natascia Karen Vervena

For those who have read a Nicholas Sparks novel or seen a movie based on one of his tearjerkers, get ready to fall in love again with Dear John. Director Lasse Hallstrom and screenwriter Jamie Linden adapt Sparks’ novel into a movie to bring us Dear John. Like Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember and The Notebook, this film is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings as Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried bring its characters to life. 

The movie deals with the real life situations of autism and terrorism, overcome through love, friendship, family ties and romance.

“My first love . . . [was] very wholesome and really knew what she wanted, was really sure of herself and so smart, and she kinda, you know, opened me up,” remembers Tatum.

Dear John is about loving someone no matter how others view the person, exemplified by Tatum’s mention that autistic people really “just learn different.”

“I don’t think that they’re special or special needs, you know, I think that they’re just really unbelievable children that, you know, take in life differently,” says Tatum. 

In the film John and the other characters find out what it means to, in the words of the novel’s introduction, “truly love another” and how, together, anything is possible.

Dear John connects to its audience not only dramatically, but humorously. John’s clumsy quirks entertain the audience and cause spurts of laughter. On set, real-life autist Braeden Reed managed to keep the actors in stitches.

“It’s always funny doing a scene with Braeden [six-year-old Alan] cause you never know what he’s going to do in a scene,” laughs Tatum. “One of the funny scenes [was when] he started to say everyone else’s lines with them. It was so funny cause he’s used to doing repetition I think, in his treatment, so it’s kinda really great for acting.  He is used to doing things over and over and over again, so [he] starts to get into the pattern of things, and so he would start to say Henry Thomas’ [Tim] lines and my lines and it was just, it was funny, it was cracking everybody up.” 

When speaking of his fellow actors, Tatum’s admiration for them shines through. 

“We shared something now,” he says. “I think that’s probably one of my favourite thing[s] about making a film. You make friends for life and you know, you really just share some like extreme things in life with them.”

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