Channing Tatum Talks Magic Mike

Steven Soderbergh's male stripper movie is based on Tatum's own life, but 'I don't think we even scratch the surface of really how dark that place can get...'

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Channing Tatum stood out at the press conference for Magic Mike. The film was inspired by his brief stint as a male stripper before he hit it big as an Up Stepper. Tatum plays Mike and produced the film, so questions ranged from his real life experiences to some of the sillier moments in the film.


Channing Tatum on the redundancy of stripteases.

I don't think that people get that they all end the exact same way. That's it. They all start clothed and end naked, and there's no really cool editing happening to miss the really gory parts.


Just when he thought he was out, they made a movie about it.

Look, I was 18-years-old and I worked three jobs. This was just one of them, and I really enjoyed performing. It was probably my first performing job ever. I really like to dance, obviously, but then I didn't really love taking the clothes off at the end, but the world in itself was just a very dark world in a way. I don't think we even scratch the surface of really how dark that place can get and how slippery of a slope it can actually be. This was probably the most palatable version of this movie. Otherwise, you wouldn't want to see it twice, you’d just be like, “Okay, I feel dirty now.” I think we blade ran that topic, but just really got out and then I basically kept working in the clubs but I just went with some of boys that danced as well and we'd just put on shows at this one nightclub. It's actually in the movie. Amphitheater. We put on these crazy shows on in the back that we didn't get naked in.


Don’t believe Thomas “Awesome” Austin and London Steele’s claims against Tatum.

Okay, I can't wait. I was waiting for someone to bring this up. Look, there's nothing that's factual in this whole movie other than I was an 18-year-old kid and went into this world and I dropped out of college and playing football and was living on my sister's couch. There's not one character that I took from my real life. This is just a world that I went into and that I had a perspective on and we created everything from a fictional place. Those guys have been trying to make money off of me since I’ve gotten into this business. Literally, London was one of the guys that sold the video that essentially, thank God, my friend here [Soderbergh] saw and liked it and then we made a movie of it. They're just very interesting people. I don't want to say anything bad about them because they're part of the reason why I think this world is so interesting. They're very interesting, intriguing, bizarre characters and I'm thankful for the weird people out there because they're some of the most creative people. I mean, watch his YouTube video. It is really, really entertaining.


Magic Mike isn’t just about stripping. It has heart, man.

I think everybody either knows somebody or has experienced it themselves, whether they did or didn't graduate college, afterwards you're like, “Okay, what do I do now?” You have the dreams that you want to do and then you have to do other jobs until you can get to that dream. Mike, and I think a lot of these guys, just sort of fell into this thing and it was fun and years just sort of ticked on as the party was happening. Then all of a sudden you're like, 'Wow, it's seven years later and I don't really have very much to show for it. I'm not any closer to my dream.’ At some point the party had just gotten away and it became your life. I think that's happened to a lot of people. They just get sidetracked.


Still stepping up.

It wasn't so hard. The routines, you wanted to stick them and do well and perform them well, but it wasn't hard. They were all fun and hilarious. I remember the first day that they were like, “Alright, guys, we've learned these routines and now it's time to get naked now, boys. It's got to happen sooner or later,” and everyone was like, “Woo!” and just went out and did it. You were just like, “Okay, never mind. This isn't going to be as hard as I thought it was going to be. It's going to be pretty easy.” Everybody just went nuts.


A deeper brotherhood.

Look, 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 racking for me. I can't imagine what these guys had to go through. Bomer had to go first. I felt so bad for that. I was like, “Maybe I should go first.” Everybody just committed. Every single person up here just went for it, and 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 you're left with very little to the imagination in front of almost three hundred people. It's very, very nerve racking. Most movies, when you're done with your scene you go home. You go home, you’re like, “That’s it. I'm good. I'm going to go home for the day.” That's not what happened with everybody. You wanted to see them do their routine and do it well and kill it. Every time that Bomer or anybody came off stage you went back and high fived them and told them what really worked, and you’re just like, “You murdered that.” It really became a weird team, in a way, like a very weird, strange team. I want to do strip competitions, guys. Can we do that? Can we enter some competitions, strip offs?”


The day the female extras mobbed Matthew McConaughey.

It was so bad that I felt like, “Man, did I not bring it because they didn't run at the stage like that.” I mean, these women lost their minds. We didn't instruct them to. If anything, we were instructing them to do that on the other dances, like, “Come on, girls, liven up.” We didn't have to do that on Matthew's. He brought them right in, as he says when he's talking to Alex in the mirror. He’s like, “You've got to bring them in. You've got to connect to every single one of them.” He connected right.