“I thought one of those was going to land”: $712M Dwayne Johnson Franchise’s star Channing Tatum Begged to be Killed Off of Film that Rejected Chris Hemsworth

Channing Tatum had turned down the part of Duke before deciding to accept it again

“I thought one of those was going to land”: $712M Dwayne Johnson Franchise's star Channing Tatum Begged to be Killed Off of Film that Rejected Chris Hemsworth

SUMMARY

  • Chris Hemsworth missed out on lead roles in G.I. Joe film series and X-Men before being cast as Thor in Kenneth Branagh's 2011 film
  • Hemsworth had a successful acting career in Australia before becoming Thor's co-star
  • He felt like his career might never take off after being turned down for parts in X-Men and GI Joe
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Thor, the god of thunder, has unquestionably helped Chris Hemsworth establish himself as one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars. But prior to his quick ascent, the Australian actor, 40, had a successful acting career—at least in Australia. Thor signaled the turning point in his journey, and there was no going back after that.

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Although Hemsworth is currently among the highest-paid actors in the world, he regrettably missed out on the lead roles in Dwayne Johnson’s $712 million G.I. Joe film series and X-Men before he agreed to play the God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 film. Yes, the same series in which Channing Tatum’s Duke died in G.I. Joe: Retaliation after appearing as one of the leads in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Thor: Love and Thunder star earlier talked about a period when nothing seemed to work in an interview with GQ. 

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Chris Hemsworth as Thor in a still from Thor: Love and Thunder
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in a still from Thor: Love and Thunder

Also read: Chris Hemsworth Was Extremely Proud Of His 1 Avengers: Endgame Scene Because Of MCU’s Godfather Robert Downey Jr

Chris Hemsworth Was Turned Down By Two Major Franchises, X-Men And G.I. Joe

Chris Hemsworth‘s fame in the US was noticeably lower than that in Australia before he starred as Thor. Before this recognition, he used to diligently attend every audition that came his way because he was determined to succeed in Hollywood. He had tried out unsuccessfully for the lead in the G.I. Joe film series, which went to Channing Tatum, and also for an X-Men role. 

Thus, the Home and Away star began to think his career might never take off, particularly after being turned down for parts in X-Men and GI Joe. He said in a 2020 GQ interview:

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“I had seven or eight call backs and I thought one of those was going to land,–But then neither of them did and all of a sudden I thought: this is it, I’ve missed it again. But then Thor came along. If I had got one of those previous roles I wouldn’t have got Thor.”

Chris Hemsworth in a still from Avengers: Endgame
Chris Hemsworth in a still from Avengers: Endgame

Hemsworth also felt that if he had ended up in a different franchise before joining the MCU, he would not have discovered his calling: 

“If I had got one of those previous roles, I wouldn’t have got Thor.”

In 2009, Tatum starred in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the first GI Joe film. However, he later disclosed that he had no interest in appearing in the $375.7 million sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Also Read: Seeing a Jacked Chris Hemsworth in Thor Costume Forced John Krasinski to Walk Out of Avengers Role

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Why Channing Tatum Begged To Be Killed Off In G.I. Joe: Retaliation?

Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum in a still from G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum in a still from G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Channing Tatum returned to the role of Duke in the 2013 follow-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation, costarring with Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock. But Duke was killed in the first scenes of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which piqued viewers’ interest in the creative choices made behind the scenes that resulted in his abrupt exit from the franchise. Tatum has earlier shared the reasons behind Duke’s brief tenure in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

He acknowledged (via Vanity Fair) that he had turned down the part of Duke before deciding to accept it again for the sequel. The Magic Mike actor stated that he declined the role due to his dissatisfaction with the first G.I. Joe film and his prior experiences. Thus, he

“Asked to be killed off in the first ten minutes of the movie [G.I. Joe: Retaliation].

Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

In the first scenes of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the studio eliminated Duke per his request. Tatum also stated in a different interview (via Howard Stern) that he was unhappy with the movie’s script and wanted to back off from the movie adaptations because he

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Was a kid” and “did not want to do something that was bad” because he had “been a fan of” the G.I. Joe franchise. 

Though the first film’s commercial success did not cause him to reevaluate his role in the franchise, considering how he still desired Duke’s death in the opening moments of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Despite receiving mostly unfavorable reviews from critics, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was regarded as an improvement over its predecessor and made $375.7 million worldwide on a budget of $130–155 million.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is streaming on Hulu.

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Also read: “I feel like I’m drowning in this role”: Chris Hemsworth Was Not Happy With One MCU Movie Nearly Decimating Thor, Kevin Feige Had to Save the Day

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1527

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1500 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.