Struggling actors are no strangers to the odd job — be it waiting tables, walking dogs or washing cars. Few, however, would admit to taking their clothes off for cash, and even fewer would later document their sordid side gig in a feature film helmed by an Oscar-winning director. But few actors are Channing Tatum.
As part of our Sneak Peek Week leading up to the 2012 MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, Tatum, along with “Magic Mike” co-star Matthew McConaughey and producer/screenwriter Reid Carolin, took to the Universal CityWalk stage in L.A. to debut an exclusive clip and chat about their stripper flick, out June 29. And while Tatum doesn’t shy away from talking about his past, it took a little convincing from director Steven Soderbergh to convince the actor his story was big-screen-worthy.
“I was having a beer with Soderbergh — we were doing a movie together — and I told him about [my past stripping]. I’d been doing it for eight months of my life when I was, like, 18 or 19, and he said, ’We gotta make a movie out of that.’ And I was like, ’Why? Why do we need to do that?’ And he said, ’I’ve never seen that world on film before.’ And then we really started talking about that, and we thought it would be really hilarious but still grounded in reality.”
So the two set out to bring “Magic Mike” to life — without studio funding.
“We put money into it and did it ourselves,” Tatum explained. “I don’t know if people realize it, but it was an independent movie.”
An independent movie, albeit with an impressive cast including Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Matthew McConaughey, who said he simply couldn’t turn down an offer from Soderbergh to play groovy club owner Dallas.
“He pitched me the story, and 10 minutes into it, I was on my knees in my house laughing,” McConaughey recalled. “And I said, ’Tell me, any words of advice?’ And he said, ’This guy, Dallas, he’s connected to the UFOs in space.’ And then I said, ’Anything else?’ And he said, ’You really can’t go wrong.’ And I said, ’I’m in.’ ”
And that’s when the real work began. Tatum took McConaughey to a male revue in New Orleans so he could get a glimpse into that world. “He loved it,” Tatum recalled with a grin.
In fact, according to Tatum, none of the men seemed too worried about dropping trou. “The first day of rehearsals, I looked at the guys and we went through our stuff, and I was like, ’All right. It’s time to get naked, boys.’ And it was hilarious that none of them really balked.”
And neither did the female extras on set, who couldn’t seem to calm their excitement during McConaughey’s solo performance, in particular. “We could not get the women to sit down in the front row,” recalled Tatum with a laugh. “They just ran at the stage.”