White House Down Talking Points: 10 Essential Facts

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx return to theaters this weekend when their new film, White House Down, opens nationwide. Now, most of the publicity for this film has been about the chumminess between Tatum and Foxx or about how the White House gets totally destroyed, but the film is actually so much more than that. VH1 Celebrity previewed White House Down earlier this week and we’ve compiled all sorts of relevant things of note that you’ll need to know before seeing the film.

1. Channing Tatum never dances. (Boooooo!)

White House Down has a lot of the hallmarks of a disaster film: huge stakes, explosions, famous buildings being destroyed… However, the greatest disaster is that Channing Tatum never gets to shake his groove thang. He’s just too busy gracefully avoiding bullets and protecting the President (and his daughter), to have time to boogie on down.

2. Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of the film’s leads.

I know, right? You didn’t even know she was in this movie! The promotion for this popcorn flick has focused primarily on Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, but Gyllenhaal has the third biggest role in the film as a high ranking secret service agent who finds herself outside of the action. Not to mention she and Tatum’s character went to college together. It’s unclear if they were supposed to have dated in college, but judging by some initial awkwardness over her marital status and then the suggestion that her newly divorced character should date more, you can’t help but think they were supposed to have a scrapped love story.

3. The villains are NOT terrorists. NO, REALLY! THEY AREN’T!

Even though it seems that almost all of the villains in new movies are terrorists (homegrown or foreign), and even though the the trailers use images that evoke acts of terrorism (like exploding buildings), the film’s actual villains technically aren’t terrorists. Without giving away too many spoilers, everything they do in the film has a strategic purpose (even if they aren’t all aware of it) and a specific political motivation. Or, it’s just about revenge. Basically, their intent is not to scare or hurt innocent civilians. This is pure warfare.

4. White House Down is actually pretty funny.

The film seems all doom and gloom, terror and terrorism from the trailers, but it’s actually full of lighthearted laughs and utter ridiculousness. Sure, it’s a film about the White House being under attack, but don’t forget that it’s also a Roland Emmerich film. So for every scene of death and destruction, you’re going to get a fun one-liner and some endearing moment between a father and his daughter. So, either you’re going be chuckling at the intentional humor on screen, or guffawing at how utterly bonkers the story gets.

And trust me, this movie gets BONKERS.

5. Channing Tatum thinks being a new dad is scarier than being a Secret Service agent…or does he?

Channing Tatum is torn between protecting the President and his daughter in this new film, which is intriguing because Tatum became a new dad to little lady Everly Tatum just this past month. So which is a more harrowing experience? Watch the video above.

6. Roland Emmerich doesn’t mean to keep blowing the White House up…it just happens.

German director Roland Emmerich famously destroyed the White House in Independence Day and 2012. So why do it again? Well, as he said to VH1 News on the red carpet this week:

“Honest to god, I think it’s more a coincidence than anything else. First time around, it was just aliens destroying a lot. We had to choose in every city the building which is most important when the attack starts. Then in 2012 actually I wanted not to do it and my writing partner said, ’If you don’t do it, they will ask you why you didn’t destroy the white house this time. Just find out some different way to do it. … This time, when I read the title page of the script, my first thought was, ’Not again. I will not do this, but then out of respect I read a couple of pages and I could not put this thing down. It’s such a good script. … I knew this question would be the most asked. I deserve it.”

7. Jason Clarke’s character is apparently the same guy he played in Zero Dark Thirty, but like totally evil, and not morally ambiguous.

In Zero Dark Thirty, Jason Clarke played a United States interrogator in the Middle East…which basically meant he did stuff like waterboarding prisoners, cutting shady deals with wealthy Kuwaitis and feeding ice cream to his pet monkeys (aka his only friends). Of course, since the events of Zero Dark Thirty, there’s been a lot of understandable backlash to those tactics. In White House Down, Clarke plays a character who was undercover in the middle east and torturing prisoners, but whose actions have been condemned by the new Presidency. He feels betrayed by the nation he once served and is out for vengeance.

8. The original Victoria makes an appearance.

Remember how Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre was the original Victoria in the Twilight franchise before some behind-the-scenes shenanigans happened and Bryce Dallas Howard took her place? Lefevre is back in White House Down as Channing Tatum’s ex-wife and mother to his 11-year-old daughter. She has probably about 8 minutes of screen time in a 2 hour, 18 minute film, but hey, she gets to wear some wacky, single mom clothes!

9. Meet Joey King. Your next Chloe Grace Moretz.

A major part of the plot is how Channing Tatum’s character, John Cale (yes, his last name sounds like the vegetable kale), is trying to impress–and then save–his U.S. government and politics obsessed daughter, Emily. Child actor Joey King plays Emily and her stormy blue eyes look great in Emmerich’s close ups. King was also the China Girl in Oz The Great And Powerful, Ramona in Ramona & Beezus and Steve Carell’s youngest kid with Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love. So, basically, she’s worked more before being a teenager than you or I ever will.

10. Jordans are as important to Jamie Foxx’s president as peace in the Middle East.

Jamie Foxx’s President Sawyer is an intellectual pacifist with a fetish for American history and a deep love of his Jordans. And I mean, he loves his Jordans. Look out for a scene where the President is forced to protect  his beloved shoes from the bad guys. Don’t scuff the sneaks!

[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures, Getty Images, & Summit Entertainment]

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