Jenna Dewan Tatum’s biggest challenge in prepping to play flirty Bunny Janie in “The Playboy Club” wasn’t wrapping her head around the politics of the 60s’ Sexual Revolution, or even squeezing into her corseted costume. It was mastering that oh-so-tricky Bunny Dip we were introduced to in the series premiere last week.
“I really, really had to work on that,” Dewan Tatum tells PopcornBiz of learning to skillfully execute the Chicago club’s famed drink delivery method that allowed the Bunny servers to drop off cocktails without anything popping out of those low-cut bodices: lean backwards, bend at the knees with the left knee lifted and tucked behind the right leg.
“We had a class,” the 30-year-old actress chuckles. “We had a four-hour class and you'd think with a dance background I’d get it right away, but it's very specific. You have to arch your back and lean in a certain degree, and we had a woman there that was teaching us. If we didn't do it right she was like, 'Nope, not right – Do it again!'”
She says she and her co-stars threw themselves into learning everything they could about the heyday of Hugh Hefner’s legendary nightclub, particularly the original Chicago locale that launched the chain.
“We got pretty deep,” she says. “We did a lot of research: I watched three documentaries, I read two books, and I definitely needed it because obviously I wasn't around of the 60s, and so I really needed to learn a lot about that era and about my character and this world of the Playboy Club, which I knew nothing about. I wanted to make the ex-Playboy Bunnies proud and wanted to do a good job.”
Despite having been born in the 80s, she took away a particular fondness for the music of the era. “I have a 60s playlist on my iPod that I cannot stop playing,” she explains. “It's like everything from Tina Turner to Frank Sinatra. It's amazing. When I'm in my trailer and I'm getting ready I put it on the 60s playlist and I get into character. There's a definite distinction between the 60s vibe versus a modern vibe, so anything that I can do to get me back into that non-contemporary feel I do.”
That retro vibe has helped Dewan Tatum flesh out her character Janie, who, she says harbors a mysterious past under her party girl exterior. “I have a secret that I'm hiding,” she reveals. “Immediately, in the first three episodes you'll find out what the secret is, why I'm so scared, why I can't marry Max. You really find out about this past of mine that I'm trying to run away from. It's very dangerous. And also Janie is like the most fun ever. So I do get myself into a little bit of trouble, and I'm a lot of fun. I'm THAT Bunny.”
"The Playboy Club" airs Monday nights at 10 PM ET on NBC