After two movies, Channing Tatum thought he was done playing Magic Mike. But he’ll take one more swing around the stripper’s pole in “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” which begins shooting in London in March.
In this week’s issue of Variety, Tatum talks about taking a four-year hiatus from acting to produce TV shows and movies with Free Association, the company that he launched in 2014 with his producing partner Reid Carolin. One of the company’s most anticipated projects is “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the third and (supposedly) final movie in the franchise that was inspired by Tatum’s days as an exotic dancer.
1. The tone of the film will be similar to “Magic Mike Live.”
After the 2015 sequel “Magic Mike XXL” underperformed at the box office, Tatum and Carolin focused their attention elsewhere. In 2017, they opened “Magic Mike Live” in Las Vegas, a musical dance show that subverted expectations about male strippers.
“I didn’t want to,” Tatum says, when asked about making a third film. “My live show was the third one. We chewed all the meat off that – no pun intended.”
But while Tatum was producing the live show, Soderbergh was developing his own “Magic Mike” stage musical bound for Broadway. The two projects weren’t supposed to intersect. Then one night, Soderbergh went to see “Magic Mike Live” in London, and he was floored by the show’s themes of desire and how it shatters tropes about what women supposedly find sexy.
Soderbergh got on the phone with Tatum and Carolin that night with a new plan. First, he decided to scrap the musical. “I said we’ve got to do another film,” Soderbergh recalls. “I know exactly what it is!”
2. And what will that be?
“I think you’re going to see this might have been the movie we always should have made, but we shouldn’t have gotten here without our education on the other two and the live show,” Tatum says.
Of the Vegas show, Carolin says, “It’s almost like if an Amy Schumer stand-up comedy act merged with Beyonce’s backup dancers who just happened to take their shirts off merged with ‘Alice in Wonderland.'”
“It’s really about a woman stuck at a horrible strip show like a Chippendales and then realizing, ‘What the hell am I doing here?'” Carolin says. “And then Magic Mike comes down from the ceiling. She gets to go down the rabbit hole and asks: What do I really want?”
3. There will be a “strong” female protagonist.
Tatum says that the new lead of “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” will be a woman. “It’s going to have a really strong, almost stronger than Mike, character that’s female,” Tatum says. But he adds: “We’ve never done a traditional love story, and this isn’t a traditional love story.”
There’s no word yet on who will play the character.
4. Get ready for the franchise’s wildest dance moves.
Tatum says that the new movie will feature “the sickest dancing that we can possible create.” He describes the movie as a “full dance-icle” and “the Super Bowl of stripper movies.”
“We’re going to swing for the fence,” he says. “I’m going to dance as hard as I’ve danced in any movie other than ‘Hail, Caesar!’” he says, referring to the 2016 Coen brothers film in which he learned how to tap dance. “I want this movie to be filled with joy and fun. Everybody is like, ‘Less character, more dancing.’ So I’ve listened.”
5. Tatum didn’t want an exclusive theatrical release.
After “Magic Mike XXL’s” July 4 weekend release date backfired, Tatum didn’t want the third movie to be exclusively in theaters. “I just don’t want the pressure,” he says. “It’s a stripper movie. I want people to see it when they want to see it. People’s screens in their homes are giant now for no money. I don’t need you to get out of your comfy house. Go have fun.”