'Magic Mike' Stars Break Down The Art Of Penis Puppetry

Channing Tatum reveals to MTV News that Joe Manganiello's eye-popping penis pump scene was inspired by real-life events.

In our ongoing coverage, we've mentioned that "Magic Mike" is actually a complex comedy about male strippers. However, in the midst of all that, there are also many jokes that poke at the ridiculousness involved in the job.

In one particularly surprising and hilarious scene, Joe Manganiello's character, Big D--- Richie, actually demonstrates how he got his nickname ... with the use of a "penis pump."

When MTV News caught up with the cast recently, we asked the cast to explain how that scene came to be and the technicalities involved in operating a penis pump.

"I went up and did this stripper convention once in the Carolinas and there were these guys that I didn't quite understand how they were doing what they were doing," Channing Tatum recalled of his days as a real-life stripper. "And then I saw something in the back that I wasn't sure [about], but I [saw] one dude -- while other dudes weren't paying any attention and they like were talking -- this other guy was just like kinda [makes fist-pumping motion], and I was like, 'What is happening back there?' And that's where that idea [for that scene] came from."

"That's a good scene," Matthew McConaughey added, "And just a microcosm of the movie and [director Steven] Soderbergh [does]. If you say, 'Hey it's a scene and a guy's pumping up his trophy there,' it's funny. You're going, 'what?!' When you reveal that's what he's doing in the shot, I remember Steven on the other side [of the camera], it was a kitchen we were all getting dressed in, when you reveal it, [you think]: One, it's part of the joke and two, how is the character/Joe doing it? He could go big on it, he could make a big, funny 'Animal House' moment/joke of it but the fact that he's taking it so seriously, [his character] does this nightly and he's really concentrating."

"He had a whole thing with it," Tatum further explained of Manganiello's method in the scene. "[Joe said,] 'You have to take it up to the point where you're blacking out and release. You have to take it right up to the point where you're just blacking out and the tunnel starts to close and you're just like, 'Uhhh.' "

From Manganiello's perspective, the scene was a delicate balance of a gonzo joke and getting into the mind of a character who takes his work very seriously. "Technology for penis pumps hasn't really increased since I'm guessing when they were invented in the 1970s," he said. "So they really haven't changed; technology is really the same. And with that said, we are working with a small budget. This is a small-budget independent movie."

"We're working with something very large on a small budget," Matt Bomer joked.

"Yes, well we didn't have enough money for fluffers," Manganiello added. "So the penis pump really was the cheap alternative."

"That would have been a whole different movie," Bomer pointed out. "I've never had a harder time not laughing in a scene, I don't think, because we've known each other for 16 years."

"I was so deep in character," Manganiello smiled. "You got to get it right; you don't want to go over. You just want to hover right there."

So, the pump actually works?

"Oh ... it, it works," Manganiello assured us.

We had to ask if he thought that scene would be the last time he ever uses a pump.

"I can't say that," he said with a smile.

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