At the recent Los Angeles press day for “Magic Mike,” which tells the story of a successful stripper who takes a newcomer under his wing, there were a lot of questions about thongs – certainly more than are usually asked at a press conference. But with director Steven Soderbergh at the helm of the film and the center of the panel of contributors who brought it to life, much more was ultimately discussed than just where the cast purchased their undergarments, and how they chose the ones that they felt best represented their characters’ personalities. Rather, Soderbergh, screenwriter Reid Carolin, and stars Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer and Joe Mangianello all offered some substantial insights about the making of the movie – which, as it turns out, did include some rather involved and thoughtful experiences with thongs.
Here's what they all had to say about the making of "Magic Mike" which hits theaters this Friday, June 29th.
Steven Soderbergh: We have edited together the full-length versions of all the routines. They're pretty disturbing. Honestly, we sent them all to Sue Kroll [President Of Worldwide Marketing] at Warner Brothers and she said, "I really like these a lot." I think it's not for men, these things. It made me really uncomfortable to watch them. They're what, we did ten or twelve. To watch them all back to back was really disturbing. So, I don't know.
Channing Tatum: I don't think that people get that they all end the exact same way. They all start clothed and end naked, and there's no really cool editing happening to miss the really gory parts. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Matthew, how was your first dance routine -- were you nervous?
Matthew McConaughey: Sure -- I was very nervous, yeah. Before going out on the stage, to dance even if you’re not taking your clothes off, for everyone live is kind of nerve-wracking, but then knowing you have to strip down, very nerve-wracking. Then after doing it once, God, I wanted to get up there and do it again. That was a lot of fun. When I first talked to Steven, he called to offer the role of Dallas to me. He had pitched the story and told me who this guy was and I was laughing really hard on the phone and said yes. I said, "Can you give me one line just so I can hang up the phone and walk away here and my imagination can go somewhere?" He said, "Well, this guy Dallas is pretty connected with UFOs, man." So, that was a great launch pad. It was a pretty roofless bit of direction on the phone in the beginning and so I knew that I was going to be able to fly and that was really fun to play someone so committed in many ways.
It seems that if you made a movie about female strippers and men reacting excitedly as the women do here that it'd be lascivious. What is it that differentiates those two experiences that allows us to enjoy this experience and see this as fun?
Tatum: I just think we're trying to do our part to objectify men for the first time in movies.
Soderbergh: I just can't believe we're having a press conference for a stripper movie. It's really hard to be serious. Look, now that people are starting to see the film, I think there might've been a concern for men who were having to see the film, that really the movie was so driven towards the female audience, that there would be nothing in it for them to sort of latch onto. Of course I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do, that in point of fact some of the issues that the male characters are going through are issues that all men confront about what they want. Men tend to define themselves by what they do, and so if you're dealing with a character who's trying to figure that out, or multiple characters, then there's something there for guys, too. When we tested the film the female scores were not significantly bigger than the male scores. I mean, guys liked it. The trick is, I think, getting them to come, but we'll see what happens.
Matthew, do you feel that this is a renaissance year for you?
McConaughey: Well, I made five in a row last year. I went back to back to back to back to back, and it was my most creative, constructive and fun working year I've ever had. I did not have one single day in all five films where I was not excited to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. I didn't have one hour of complacency in any of the work I did in five films, and I'm happy to be able to say that because that's not always been the case. It's fortunate to be able to say that, and I got to work with a lot of very interesting directors and some very interesting stories and all characters that didn't really pander or placate to any laws, government, parental guidance, what have you. So, they were very, when I say committed characters, that's really fun because it's boundless how far you can go, almost four dimensionally. I mean, with Dallas, in this role, I couldn't get pinned down with writing down ideas and things and sending off emails. The verbiage of this guy's mind just kind of flew.