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Steven Soderbergh & The Cast Of 'Magic Mike' Talk "Disturbing" Dance Sequences, Objectifying Men, Trusting The Thong & More

The Playlist By Todd Gilchrist | The Playlist June 27, 2012 at 11:01AM

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.
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Magic Mike Alex Pettyfer Matthew McConaughey
Did any of the ladies playing the club patrons ever take their roles too seriously?
Matt Bomer: Yeah, I think those were all happy accidents when those happened. It was a part of the world, and if they wanted to lick you in certain places or touch you, or whatever, it was welcome. It was just a part of the world we were creating.

Tatum: You’ve got to commit.

So, that helped to inform your performance?
Tatum: Very much so. Actually, they were there for a while with us and they became sort of our friends. You'd get off stage and they'd go, "That was a really good one. Really, that part where you did the thing, that was great."

McConaughey: Yeah, they were crazy during the dances and then afterwards they'd become very motherly, like wanting to take care of us. "That was a good one. You done good today," especially after a few weeks.

Matt Bomer, Magic Mike
Reid, how do you write this kind of a movie?
Tatum: Yes, Reid. Reid was in male strip clubs. I couldn't even get him out. I was like, "Man, you don't have to go to every one. They're all pretty much the same."

Reid Carolin: There was a personal research component, for sure. I think we went to a couple of these places and had some fun. Then just really sitting around with Chan and Steven. I looked at it really as it was written as much by committee as it was by me. There were so many awesome voices in the making of this movie that every crazy idea had a home. So, it was just really sitting around with these guys and kind of messing around.

Soderbergh: Well, there goes your nomination.

How does it feel to work on a movie that looks at what it means to be a man these days? Channing's character has to become a man, to grow up.
Tatum: I think everybody either knows somebody or has experienced it themselves, whether they did or didn't graduate college, afterwards you're like, "Okay, what do I do now?" You have the dreams that you want to do and then you have to do other jobs until you can get to that dream. Mike, and I think a lot of these guys, just sort of fell into this thing and it was fun and years just sort of ticked on as the party was happening. Then all of a sudden you're like, "Wow, it's seven years later and I don't really have very much to show for it. I'm not any closer to my dream." At some point the party had just gotten away and it became your life. I think that's happened to a lot of people. They just get sidetracked.

Magic Mike, Bomer, Manganiello
Channing and Matthew, you both had some great solo dances. Did you have any reservations about the lack of clothes?
Tatum: I just respect these guys for jumping into the thong with both feet and out onto the stage because I've done it before and it was still nerve racking for me. I can't imagine what these guys had to go through. Bomer had to go first. I felt so bad for that. I was like, "Maybe I should go first." Everybody just committed. Every single person up here just went for it, and I wish we had time in the movie to show everybody's dance because everyone worked so hard on them. It's a humbling thing to get up there and you're left with very little to the imagination in front of almost three hundred people. It's very, very nerve racking.

McConaughey: As far as trusting wardrobe, it is one of the larger leaps of faith to trust a thong.

Tatum: And sometimes they completely betray you.

McConaughey: It weighs like what a dollar bill weighs. It weighs nothing, and you're going, "This is the only protection…at the end of this performance, this is the only protection that I have." So, the first time you put it on you're going, "What is every possible angle I can be in and I gotta check to see if it's really covered, everything is covered." You don't understand how it is and for the most part it is.

Tatum: For the most part.

Joe Manganiello, Magic Mike

McConaughey: I said this yesterday, but I had to put on the thong and kind of walk around and try to have normal conversations. You have to talk about football or what you ate last night, something. Then that's what's funny, and then you lean against a wall, like, "Now I'm just hanging out, man," to get comfortable with it because the first time you put it on your body kind of contorts and you're like, "I need straighten up, my shoulders back or something, hips out." It is somewhat unnatural. Channing would be there just talking about what's going on in the scene with Soderbergh. He's in his red thong, just working it out, behind the scenes producer work.

Soderbergh: Channing had a great phrase about all of that because I felt, one of the appeals of it to me was if everybody is dressed like that every conversation is funny. There's no wrong answer. Anybody who starts having a serious conversation while they're wearing a thong, it's going to be funny. But you said also, when you first got into it, your mantra was, "It's only weird if you make it weird."

Tatum: It's true, very, very true.

Soderbergh: So, that was the attitude that everybody took, which is it doesn't have to be weird if you don't want it to be weird.

McConaughey: There's nothing weird about Kevin Nash in a thong, talking to you about Picasso's cubism years.

Tatum: What's weird about that?

This article is related to: Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh, Channing Tatum, Matthew Bomer, Matthew McConaughey, Reid Carolin, Joe Manganiello


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