This week, I was invited by Warner Bros. to the Thompson Hotel in downtown Toronto to talk with Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello on their upcoming film Magic Mike. Through an all too brief twenty minute interview, the two stars discussed stripping on film, what their “significant others” thought of the movie, how the film almost become a Broadway play, and much, much more.
In case you’re not one of the millions of women that are waiting with baited breath to see Hollywood’s most desirable men bare their assets in Magic Mike, I’ll give you a quick summary of what the film’s all about:
Partially based on Tatum’s life, the film follows Magic Mike (Tatum), a male stripper who takes a younger performer called The Kid (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing. Along with Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tarzan (Kevin Nash) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez), they work at a club called Xquisite, owned by a former stripper named Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).
As the interview began, the first issue that came up was regarding stripping in the film, which neither of the actors were used to. Granted, Joe has shed his clothes before on camera – he’s often seen naked on HBO’s hit show True Blood - but he’s never done anything quite like this before.
“It’s completely unto itself, it really is,” says Tatum. “I remember, Matt Bomer went out first. He was actually the first one who performed in the movie and we were all like ‘good luck motherfu-**er.’ [laughs]
He was like ‘what do I do?’ and I was like ‘just go for it, just rub your junk in her face’ and he just ran out. Then when he came back he was like ‘I don’t know what just happened’ and I was like ‘me neither.’ [laughs]
Bomer wasn’t the only one who had a frightening first experience though, Tatum recalls his first time going out on stage as well.
”I remember before I went out on stage I thought to myself ‘this is a terrible idea, why did I want to make this movie?’
Though there’s no full frontal nudity in the film, Channing does have to reveal quite a bit of skin. He definitely puts himself out there as well with some of the more revealing costumes. In fact, it makes you wonder, what did his wife think of the role?
“She thinks it’s hilarious. She kind of revels in the fact that she married a stripper. She got to see a bunch of different versions of the film and she had fun each time. “
Tatum, as we all know, used to be a male stripper in the past, so playing the role of Mike wasn’t anything new for him. Manganiello on the other hand, had never stripped before and, as he tells us, the character stuck with him a bit.
I found myself, you know, in the morning after filming Magic Mike all day, I’d go to fill my car up with gas. So I’d walk into the gas station to get a drink or something and there’d be music playing and I found myself kind of walking to the beat and dancing a bit.
Even when I came back to True Blood, there were scenes this year when me Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard were all together, and everyone was curious about the movie that I had shot in my hiatus. But there were times when we would spend days together on set just humping every piece of furniture around. There was even one point when I came skipping onto set and was like ‘did somebody order a werewolf?’ [laughs as he pretends to rip his shirt open] So you hold onto the characters somewhat, but in the best way possible. This has been the universes’ plan for me all along, all roads have led me to Big Dick Richie, I wouldn’t change a thing,” adds Manganiello. [laughs]
2012 has undoubtedly been the year of Channing Tatum. The actor has raised his profile significantly over the past few months with roles in films like The Vow, 21 Jump Street, Haywire, and now Magic Mike. In fact, the New York Times recently called him one of Hollywood’s best hopes for a male superstar. That’s a lot of pressure to put on the young actor but as Tatum says, it doesn’t really change anything.
“I think the superstar thing is completely arbitrary. It’s all about who had a movie that did well one weekend. Then if you have a movie that doesn’t do well the next weekend then all of the sudden you’ve fallen from, whatever. So it doesn’t really mean anything for me.”
This is the second collaboration between Channing Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh (Haywire being the first). The duo also have another film coming up, titled The Bitter Pill. So what is it that the two like so much about each other and why do they get along so well?
“We come from two completely different places but we just see how we want to make movies in the same way. I’ve learned more than I can ever put into words from him. He empowers people around him to bring something to the role and I just think he’s one of the most brilliant filmmakers I’ve ever and will ever work with.”
Though Magic Mike is said to be based on Tatum’s past, the film does include a lot of fiction. In fact, as the actor says, it’s really not his story at all.
“To clarify, it’s really not my story. If we actually put everything that happened in my life into the movie it’d just be an outright comedy, you just wouldn’t of believed it. You couldn’t put it all into a movie so we fabricated everything. The only thing that is relevant to my actual life is that I was 18, I had a sister, I played football in college and dropped out. That’s it, I never overdosed or anything, that never happened. I don’t have a drug problem guys!” [laughs]
Continuing on that note, Tatum still remembers a lot of his dance/stripper moves from back in the day and when doing his routines in Magic Mike, everything kind of just came back to him.
“Growing up in Florida we used to grind a lot in the clubs, so I didn’t really have to learn any different moves or anything like that. And anyways, even now, I stay dancing. You know, me and my wife dance for each other to keep things interesting. I don’t know, to me it’s just not anything new, I didn’t have to dust off the old moves or figure it out again.”
If you’ve seen the film, you’ll notice that it’s just one step away from being a full on musical. There’s a lot of dancing and musical numbers and they all come complete with props and costumes.
A few quick changes here and there and it could have easily been a musical. To be honest, it probably would have worked out well as a musical too. As it turns out, the cast and crew thought so as well.
“We talked about it at one point, we really did” says Tatum. ”Bomer [Matt] has one of the most amazing voices you’ve ever heard and he’d be great in a musical. The film lends itself to stage so well obviously, but it would be a complete different story than what the movie is, which I think could be better in a way.”.
“Didn’t Bomer do Glee recently?” asks Tatum. [turning to Manganiello]
“He did do Glee,” says Manganiello. “We were talking about it on set actually, I saw the episode, he sang Hungry Like The Wolf.”
“Did he really? I did not know that.” says Tatum [laughs] “That’s so good, I have to see that now.”
While both Tatum and Manganiello are in pretty good shape to begin with, preparing for their roles in Magic Mike wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. A lot of training and preparation went into it and as they tell us, lifting weights was a regular activity on set. It was especially hard for Manganiello to stay in shape as his work out routine was different than that which is required of him for True Blood.
“I had to trim some hair, strippers are less hairy than werewolves,” said Manganiello. [laughs] “The dancing and choreography took us hours each day to get down. So it was weights and grinding that became my work out, rather than the elliptical machine.” [laughs]
“It’s interesting because in True Blood, I know the shirtless scenes are coming from about three weeks out and there’s a way to kind of peak for that day. But when you’re shooting a film like Magic Mike and you’re doing dance routines for two weeks at a time, you have to peak everyday. So that became kind of crazy. We had a gym in the parking lot and we’d all be lifting weights on set, all day.”
If you’ve seen any of the trailers or promotional footage for the film, you’ll know that Magic Mike is being marketed heavily towards women. That being said, there’s no reason men should stay away from this one.
“Straight men seem reluctant to see the film, but all my boys have come to the screenings to hit on the girls after the show, because they’re already sort of primed and frothy, if you will,” says Tatum. [laughs]
“Furthermore, people say women are going to go see it, gay men will go see it but what about the straight men?” says Maganiello. “Well, let me tell you something, if you are a smart, savvy, straight man, go see this on a Friday or Saturday night! And then hang out in the lobby afterwards! Maybe wear an outfit, I don’t know? If you want to get creative, do it.” [laughs]
“But bring your mace, because they may go to a place that you’re not really ready for, that’s all I’m saying,” adds in Tatum.
That concludes the interview but we’d like to thank Channing and Joe for taking the time to talk to us. We’d also like to thank Mr. Will-W for his photo!
Thanks to 680 News, who were also in attendance at the roundtable interview, we have a short video to share with you as well. Check it out below and be sure to catch Magic Mike, in theatres on June 29th!