News & Politics

Why This Story Is Not Entirely About Channing Tatum (A Cautionary Tale)

Or, the time my purse got stolen after the “White House Down” premiere.

Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum with The Moms’ Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein, who cohosted a pre-screening reception with Equinox Fitness. Photograph by Daniel Swartz.
Maggie Gyllenhaal. Photograph by Tanya Pai.

Working for
Washingtonian has certain perks. There’s always free food at the office, we work right by a Nordstrom
sometimes we get invited to cover local premieres of movies starring
Channing Tatum and
Jamie Foxx. I was invited to such a premiere on Friday—a screening of
White House Down
at the AMC Theatre in Georgetown—and arrived to witness hordes of fans lined up behind
police barricades, gawkers crowded together across the street, and double-decker buses
driving by with tourists screaming from the top floor, all hoping to catch a glimpse
of Tatum. You could tell when he hit the “red carpet” by the solid wall of screams
that rose up from the onlookers. I jostled with other reporters and photographers
for a spot along the step-and-repeat, where celebrity wranglers hustled their clients
down the row of media. (The exception was 13-year-old
Joey King, who plays Tatum’s daughter in the movie; her handler brought her up to reporters
and requested they ask her questions. She is, for the record, very well-spoken for
someone so young.) Foxx, Tatum, director
Roland Emmerich, and
Maggie Gyllenhaal, in black Alexander McQueen, gamely fielded inquiries about their favorite places
in DC (Gyllenhaal said she was surprised at how patriotic she felt) and whether they
thought President Obama might catch the movie (“I hope he sees it,” said Tatum)—all
of which I dutifully recorded with my iPhone recorder in one hand while taking photos
on my digital camera with the other. And I was all set to write a great story about
a star-studded Washington movie premiere.

And then my purse got stolen.

Someone snatched my giant, overstuffed work bag right off the floor of an H Street
bar—I put it down for one minute, then turned around and it was gone. Adios, iPhone.
Adios, new digital camera. Adios, Channing Tatum interview. It’s not entirely a surprise,
I guess—crime happens in Washington all the time, and leaving your purse on the ground,
even for a minute, is unsafe. But it’s still a shock. It makes you feel vulnerable.
Victimized. Stupid. Especially when the police officers who report to the scene tell
you they’ve had to deal with two stabbings and a shooting already that night, so your
pilfered purse is hovering somewhere near the bottom of their priority list.

So I’m sorry I can’t tell you exactly what Channing Tatum said about being in a movie
about saving the President of the United States. But I did learn two important lessons:
One, he looks very nice in a navy suit. And two, the day you get the chance to meet
movie stars, make sure to hold onto your purse.