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For 'Magic Mike' crew, being sexy is a lot of work

Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Joe Manganiello admit to a few nerves on the set of Steven Soderbergh's male-stripper-centric film.

June 23, 2012|By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

It's the coming off stage, said Manganiello, that's more painful. "For me, it was like coming out of a blackout. You get up there, you do this thing, and then it was like waking up the next morning covered in blood and having no recollection of what the hell you just did," he explained. "You're sitting backstage after your routine, in a thong, sweating, the music is over, you're just sitting there alone in silence ... going 'What did I just do? People are going to see this!'"

The dozens of women who got to play bit parts as club patrons were more satisfied than your typical group of extras, Soderbergh laughed. "The first time we shot [the 'Raining Men' routine], it was with 110 extras. These women were very happy. We had a lot of return extras — like 96%, which is unheard of on a movie."

At one point, one woman got a bit overzealous and reached for McConaughey's thong. "I remember feeling it go boom," he said, "and just as the cool draft was going a little further than it had been, I went, 'Oh, yep,' and tucked into a roll."

"He was kind of asking for it," Soderbergh said. "That was entrapment. He was provoking them."

"Magic Mike" is hardly McConaughey's only provocative role this year. Moviegoers will next see him as a hit man in William Friedkin's NC-17 rated "Killer Joe," and later in the year he'll turn up as an enigmatic vagabond in Jeff Nichols' "Mud" and as a kinky newspaperman in Lee Daniels'"The Paperboy."

Tatum has been busy too. Besides appearing in "Haywire," he's already had two blockbusters in very different genres this year —"The Vow" (a romance) and "21 Jump Street" (a buddy comedy). It's a far cry from his days as a dancer in Tampa, when Tatum said he typically took home about $150 a night. Although his character in "Magic Mike" spends more than six years dancing, Tatum in reality lasted less than a year in the male revue.

"You get in at 18, and halfway through 19 you look around and you're like, 'Man, I don't want to do this.' I never really enjoyed taking my clothes off. That was a weird thing," he said. "I really enjoyed the dancing, the performance of it all, the craziness of the life. But I would always take my pants off and run off stage."

As the Kid becomes more central to the troupe, Mike realizes that he wants out of the club scene. He has dreams of running his own custom furniture business. "I think everyone's been in a situation where they're like, 'What do I do now? What do I do with my life?'" said Tatum.

It's certainly a theme that struck a chord with Soderbergh, who has been saying for years that he wanted to exit the filmmaking world and engage in other artistic pursuits. Now 49, he insists that "Magic Mike" will be followed by just two more movies — "The Bitter Pill," about a woman who develops a prescription medication habit, also featuring Tatum, which recently wrapped filming, and a Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas that starts production in July. After that, he plans to write a book and stage at least one play.

"The Kid is kind of a mirror for" Mike, said Soderbergh. "As a result, he starts to reconsider where he is. He thinks the Kid is like him, but then realizes that he's not. The more he sees of it, the more he needs to make a change."

"Obviously, this is really my change too. It's just time to reboot."

Times staff writer Gina McIntyre contributed to this report.

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