Probably the most pleasant surprise of the year so far, both critically and commercially, has been "Magic Mike." We've made no secret of our love of Steven Soderbergh 'round these parts, but we hadn't connected 100% with anything that he'd made since "Che," and when it was first announced, we weren't sure that a male stripping drama starring Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer was going to change that. But not only did the film turn out to be triumph -- a loose, substantial gem with excellent performances all around -- but also a grand commercial hit, bringing in $113 million domestically on a production budget of only $7 million.
And as night follows day, so talk of a sequel follows a hit, and Tatum (who also produced the film, which is based on his own experiences) announced a while back that he's already starting to think about a follow-up, as well as a Broadway stage version. And now details are starting to emerge about what form it might take, as well as some potential candidates to direct.
With Steven Soderbergh holding fast, for the moment, to his plan to take a hiatus from filmmaking (he's now wrapped on what could be his final film, "Behind the Candelabra"), there's an obvious vacancy in the director's chair, and Tatum tells German site Filmstarts (via AlloCine) that he could direct the film himself, possibly with screenwriter and producing partner Reid Carolin. Tatum's ambitions have long been greater than simply acting, and this seems like a decent option, particularly since he's now had three projects with Soderbergh, 'Mike,' "Haywire" and the upcoming "The Bitter Pill," from which to learn. That's not the only option on the table, though, as he also suggests that Gregory Jacobs, Soderbergh's long-time assistant director and producer (who helmed John C. Reilly film "Criminal" and Emily Blunt thriller "Wind Chill"), could end up with the job as well.
As for where the sequel might take the characters, Carolin says (and thanks to AlloCine for the quotes) "You know, we are talking a lot about it. We have a story, and it is really ridiculous and fun. It's a road movie sort of thing, where a bunch of strippers get back together. It's more of a broad comedy. I don't know whether it will happen or not." Tatum certainly seems to suggest that the Broadway version is a bigger priority at the moment.
As much as we loved the film, and as much as we're firmly on board team C-Tates, we can't help but feel that the sequel would feel pretty unnecessary, given where the original leaves the characters: one of the film's pleasures is the complete story it tells. If they've got an idea that feels organic, then that's great, but there's always the risk that it would end up as the "Staying Alive" to the original's "Saturday Night Fever"... In the mean time, Tatum can next be seen in another of his self-derived projects, "10 Years," which opens on September 21st, and reuniting with Soderbergh on "The Bitter Pill," which hits February 8th, 2013.