"I had so much fun on this movie," says Channing Tatum, the star of action film White House Down, who plays a Capitol Policeman denied his dream job of protecting the President. And who then just happens to be taking his daughter on a tour of the White House when the siege takes place.

Leading from the front

"One morning we were shooting at 5am, it was a long day and Roland [Emmerich, the director] was the only one chipper, as he could only possibly be,” he continues. “He leads from the front and I like that."

Jamie Foxx, who plays President James Sawyer, agrees with his co-star.

"As an actor who wants to be a director, I'd think about the movie and wonder, 'Wow, the scope! How's Roland going to make this cinematic?'" says Foxx, who won an Oscar for his moving depiction of the legendary blind soul singer Ray Charles, in 2004's Ray.

"I got to watch Roland, I got the chance to look over his shoulder and have a peek at his shot list, it was really a blast.

"But Roland was also a great collaborator," he adds. "He allows you to bring in your own voice, your ideas, and then he shapes them in the way that he can execute the movie - and if you go too far, he's there to pull you back in."

What’s 12 years between friends?

There might be 12 years between the two actors but they get along well, which they agree isn’t surprising given they’re both from the south of the US.

Tatum, 33, was born in Alabama and still retains a strong southern drawl, although he grew up in Florida, where he worked as a model and dancer before making the move into acting, landing a few small roles before being cast in 2006 film A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints.

Foxx, 45, meanwhile, was born and raised in Texas and rose to fame in comedy before embarking on a more dramatic route.

"It was a dream role to work with Channing," says the actor,

"For one, we had a great time on the set, and sometimes you choose movies like this for the company you're going to be with and the history you're going to build, the fun you're going to have."

As a famed supporter of Barack Obama, Foxx was thrilled to portray the most powerful man in the world. "In this situation, the President's faced with the beginning of a new world order. He's learning that the might of the sword is not always the best course of action,” explains the Django Unchained star.

In fact, producers chose Foxx because he had both a comedy and drama background.

"We bring up some of these political issues, but not too heavy on the political side. It's a fresh look at what I would call a super-action hero. Sit down, get ready for the ride, watch Channing go to work and do his thing as Officer John Cale."

Homage to Bruce Willis

Laughing, Tatum doesn't deny that he pays homage to the likes of Bruce Willis's John McClane - of the Die Hard movies - with the white vest he sports for the majority of the film.

He says: "I bet if you went in the White House people wouldn't be looking all right, but Roland wanted everyone to look good in the movie and said, 'You guys are still going to have to be sexy!'"

Looking 'sexy' isn't something that's ever likely to be too much of a challenge for Tatum, who was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine and portrayed a male stripper in the steamy hit Magic Mike last year.

Being a father and a friend

At the beginning of White House Down, Cale is an ex-soldier and divorced father who's trying to put his life back on solid footing, especially when it concerns his relationship with his daughter.

"But his heart is good, he's always wanted to be his daughter's hero," says Tatum.

Tatum himself became a father for the first time in June when his wife gave birth to their daughter Everly, and insists he loves being a hands-on dad, including doing his fair share of the nappies.

Foxx, who has two daughters - Corinne, 19, and four-year-old Annalise - thinks he's a natural. "Channing has a natural charm about him that his parents would've given him, and that he'll pass on to his daughter," he says.

And does he have any parenting advice to impart? Foxx pauses for a moment, before saying: "Figure out a way to be a friend and a father, which is the toughest part."

When you're Tatum or Foxx, you can't imagine that's so difficult.

Watch White House Down on BT TV now.