If you've ever wanted to raise your eyes to the heavens and thank an unnamed deity for Channing Tatum, you now know who to thank: Amanda Bynes.
In a wide-ranging Paper interview published on Monday, Bynes took credit for spotting a then-unknown Tatum in a Mountain Dew commercial and lobbying for him to take the role of Duke in She's the Man, a modern update on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and, according to us, the greatest soccer movie of all time.
"I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie because he wasn't famous yet," Bynes said. "He'd just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, 'This guy's a star—every girl will love him!'"
For those of you who don't remember the 2002 commercial, Tatum plays a Hoobastank-blasting The Fast and the Furious-inspired driver who leaves his can of Mountain Dew on the hood of someone's car and swerves back to get it, uttering the line: "Forgot my Dew."
This was enough to convince Bynes that Tatum would be perfect for the role of her love interest. Her producers were less receptive—they thought the then-22-year-old Tatum was too old for the part. Bynes' response to them? "It doesn't matter! Trust me!"
The producers conceded and Tatum went on to be cast opposite Bynes in the role of the lovelorn Illyria High School soccer jock Duke. Bynes' own experience of playing Viola in the gender-swapping teen comedy, however, was more complicated.
Bynes dressed as a boy for the film to play Viola in disguise as her twin brother Sebastian, and described watching herself in male drag onscreen as "a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk." She explained: "When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for four to six months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy."
Bynes told Paper that she has been sober for almost four years after substance abuse issues that led her to lash out on Twitter against family members and high-profile figures like Rihanna. These days, she's in a much better place—she's doing an associate degree at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and hoping to get back into acting. "I have no fear of the future," she says. "I've been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it so I just feel like it's only up from here."