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Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 03/01/2012

“21 Jump Street”: The secret Beltway panel discussion


Ice Cube, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in "21 Jump Street." (Scott Garfield/Columbia Pictures)

We’re a special kind of people here in Washington, and in our cultured moments we enjoy a special kind of entertainment: The panel discussion.

We don’t just go see movies here, you see. We talk about them afterwards, lecture hall-style. And when stars promote their movies here, they don’t just walk a red carpet — they must discuss the important issues raised by their movies (Kevin Spacey on campaign finance reform, Angelina Jolie on genocide, James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver on climate change).

So we were eager for the exclusive Q&A screening with the stars of the big-screen reboot of “21 Jump Street” in Georgetown Wednesday night and what would certainly be a stimulating debate about, um, juvenile delinquents, or drug abuse, or hair mousse — whatever that show was about.


An exclusive photo smuggled out of the top-secret screening!: Hill, Tatum and Cube. (Courtesy of Kira Bates)

Except: No media allowed. What? Aren’t these events supposed to be all about us? Nope: In fact, this one was so secretive hosts confiscated phones and cameras at the door.

But we’ve obtained some intel about the panel discussion they didn’t want you to know about. No senators or Brookings scholars on this panel, we’re told, just the three stars: Newly-thin Oscar nominee Jonah Hill, pretty-boy leading man Channing Tatum, and rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube.

According to one source in the room who asked that her identity be protected, many of the questions, from a largely college-age audience, had a common theme: Would Tatum please take his shirt off? And would he accept a challenge to a dance-off? Tatum politely declined.

How’d they get so many [expletives] in the script? Hill explained that they submitted it with 34 [expletives] knowing it would give them leverage to negotiate with the studio for as many as 15 [expletives].

The movie, set for release in a couple weeks, is a buddy-cop comedy about undercover agents probing a high-school drug ring. Hill, as usual, plays the nerd.

Was he a nerd in real life? No, he said.

Kira Mackenzie Bates, a D.C. publicist lucky enough to sit in on the Q&A, told us other questions ran along the lines of, “Are you guys best friends in real life?” Answer: No. “Pretty generic,” she said, but the stars seemed fairly loose and at ease. She tweeted about the screening — but everyone else did too, and Tatum retweeted her, so it must have been okay.

By  |  10:00 PM ET, 03/01/2012

 
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