Channing Tatum Talks Stripping in ‘Magic Mike’

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  • "Magic Mike” may come with the usual stripper movie requirements, but according to one of the movie’s stars, there’s something for guys who aren’t drawn to seeing male interpretive dancing on the big screen.

    “I think there might have been a concern for men who are having to see the film that really the movie was so driven toward the female audience that there would be nothing in it for them to sort of latch on to. And of course, I knew that that wasn’t what I wanted to do, said Channing Tatum during a recent press conference for “Magic Mike.” “That in point and fact, some of the issues that the male characters are going through are issues that all men confront about what they want…you know men tend to define themselves by what they do and so if you’re dealing with a character who’s trying to figure that out or multiple characters then there’s something there for guys too.”

    Inspired by Tatum’s brief stint as a real life male stripper, “Magic Mike” features the actor as well as Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Mangianello Cody Horn, Olivia, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias.

    Although movie watchers will see more than their share of male stripping, the film’s director, Steven Soderbergh opted to highlight a less than glamorous side with”Magic Mike”’s characters dealing with the current issues.

    “I wanted to make sure that there were a lot of conversations in the movie about money and work because I feel like, for most people, these are issues that dominate their lives, especially lately. And so we were always looking for ways to sort of bring that conversation in to the film,” he explained.

    For Tatum, the issue hits home as he saw a darker side of the strip game that wasn’t filled with what most people associate with his former profession.

    “I don’t think we even scratched the surface of really how dark that place can get and how slippery of a slope it can actually be, said the entertainer, who confessed to his male stripping gig being one of three jobs he held before breaking through as an actor.”

    Despite allusions to the seamy side, Soderbergh stated that his focus was toward a less heavy look at male stripping.

    “I think we were trying to find this balance. As Channing was saying, there’s a very dark version of that movie to be made, but at the end of the day, we wanted it to be fun,” he stated. “Whether it was in costumes or the routines or just the way people were interacting with each other we wanted to find this line where you were smiling as opposed to being disgusted. We were constantly searching that.”

    As for the cast’s commitment to “Magic Mike,” McConaughey and Tatum reinforced that all parties were fully committed to doing what was necessary to make the film a success. With camaraderie built over getting the film’s dance routines right, Tatum revealed that “a very weird, strange team” was formed by the male stars.

    “I just respect these guys for jumping into the thong with both feet and out onto the stage because I’ve done it before and it was still nerve wracking for me and I can’t imagine what these guys had to go through,” he said. “I wish we had time in the movie to show everybody’s dance because everyone worked so hard on them. It’s a humbling thing to get up there and just…when you are left with very little left to the imagination in front of almost 300 people. It’s very, very nerve-wracking.

    “It was also an exercise in complete commitment. I remember Steven said to us early on ‘Jump off the cliff and I’ll catch you. He’s the kind of director that people need when he says something like that to you,” added McConaughey. “We were all completely terrified, but it’s not the kind of movie that you can only commit 75 percent to. You have to go all the way.”

    “Magic Mike” is set for release today.

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