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October 18th, 2017

Magic Mike XXL Cast Interview

Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) and the remaining Kings of Tampa (Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias) take a nostalgic road trip down to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach for one last blow-out performance before they bow out of the stripper life. Along the way, they make new friends, rekindle old friendships, and bust some new moves guaranteed to burn the house down. Directing from a script by Reid Carolin, Emmy award-winning director Gregory Jacobs delivers a sexy, high energy, and moving tale about friendship, letting go of the past, and finding the courage to reinvent oneself.

At the film’s recent press day, Tatum, Bomer, Manganiello, Nash, Rodriguez, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Amber Heard, Andie MacDowell, Donald Glover, Jacobs and Carolin talked about their favorite moment from the shoot, how the first film inspired the sequel, the decision to cast Pinkett-Smith in a role originally written for a guy, why the male camaraderie was so important to the film, how they fit all the dance routines into the movie, the amazing finale with 900 extras, what they’ve learned about what women want, and why this is a great date movie. Tatum also discussed his upcoming roles in “Hail, Caesar” and “Gambit.”

Here’s what the actors, producers, director and screenwriter had to tell us:

QUESTION: It must have been so much fun to shoot this film. Do you have any special memory or anecdote from the shoot that you could share with us?

ANDIE MACDOWELL: We were shooting nights and they had been shooting quite a while when I came in. I was terrified but pretending that I wasn’t. I came in acting in the role of this crazy woman, and I think Amber Heard thought that lady was who I was. I learned yesterday that she actually wasn’t too crazy about me.

AMBER HEARD: It’s probably just that. I thought Andie was out of her mind, but that is a testament to how great she is. It’s funny with this movie because the energy between everybody is palpable both in the room and on set, and you can also see it on the screen with everyone’s personalities. There’s a strange truth represented in the characters. I picked up on everyone’s personalities coming through in an amazing way despite the fact that they were acting and it was scripted.

JADA PINKETT-SMITH: During rehearsal time, I got to get a special lap dance from Matt. I kind of got set up. I just wanted to watch his rehearsal because I found out how well he sings. I was like, “Oh, I’m just going to stay. Gregory, ‘Is it okay if I stay. I just want to see Matt?’” And they were like, “Yeah, yeah. Come over here and sit in this chair right here.” I’m like, “Oh, okay.” So I’m sitting there and Matt comes out and he starts his routine, and he came over to me and we had a little special moment. It was awesome.

CHANNING TATUM: I didn’t know that.

PINKETT-SMITH: You were there, Channing. You don’t remember?

TATUM: I don’t remember that.

PINKETT-SMITH: It was during rehearsals.

TATUM: I blocked most of that out. (Laughs)

JOE MANGANIELLO: That was a set up.

PINKETT-SMITH: Were you there, Joe?

MANGANIELLO: Yeah. That was a set up.

PINKETT-SMITH: That was a set up. They set me up, right?

MANGANIELLO: “Sit in this chair, Jada.”

TATUM: We did the same thing to Joe Manganiello. We said, “Here, sit here, Joe. Magic is gonna dance for you.”

STEPHEN ‘TWITCH’ BOSS: It was just an incredible time. I think the culmination of it all, which was always in the back of your head no matter how much incredible, badass performance situations were going on, you knew that there was a moment where you would have to stand there in nothing. You know what I mean? And it was in that moment that it all came together because you felt good. I mean, we’re dancing. We’ve got the mirror routine. We’re doing this and that. And then, when you have to stand there with your ass cheeks in the wind, that’s when you look around the room and catch eye contact with everyone, and you say, “This is what we’re here for. This is it.”

ADAM RODRIGUEZ: It’s really hard to pick just one moment, of course, because the whole ride, from start to finish, was one of the most fun times I’ve had in my life, never mind just in my career. But I just can’t get Michael Strahan out of my head. Michael is in baby oil from head to toe and he had on that tight pair of gold shorts. A Hall of Fame NFL player jumping six feet in the air over a woman on a table that he’s massaging. I just can’t get the image out of my head.

TATUM: I see him in my sleep sometimes. I worry. I wonder if he’s going to come for me in the night and just be like, “You did this to me!”

KEVIN NASH: I find myself sketching him.

MATT BOMER: One of the fun things about doing a road trip movie is that every day was a new adventure. We never stayed in one place too long. One day we were at Rome’s Club and I was seeing Donald freestyle, and you’re getting to dance with Jada, and then you’re with a bunch of drag queens. It was all kinds of adventure. But for me, in particular, seeing the minimart scene with Joe, who I’ve known since he was 18, seeing the culmination of all those years just come to fruition in that moment, it was so mind blowing and epic that I literally just stood behind the camera wanting popcorn or really even carbohydrates to eat while I watched and with my jaw on the ground and thanking God. I’ll never look at minimarts the same way.

TATUM: Or Cheetos.

DONALD GLOVER: Speaking of food, we were in Savannah so there was a lot of very unhealthy but delicious food that we could not have. The first thing that happened when we were on set was everybody was like, “Don’t eat that protein bar. This is the good one.” And then, “You can’t have the same green two days in a row. That’s crazy.” I guess it all culminated I remember on the first day. There was a silver thong in my dressing room. I was like, “This is it. This is the moment when I really have to put it on.” So then I do my scene and then like the whole day everyone was like, “Great! Awesome!” And then I get back down and realized no one ever saw this thong. This was the solidarity thong. I thought, “This is really cool.” I was a big fan and at that moment I said, “Wow! I’m really in this movie.”

MANGANIELLO: I’ve known Matt since he was 18 and we did come up through drama school together.

BOMER: Oh, we’ve down Shaw together. Shaw and Chekov and Shakespeare and Ibsen and all of that leading up to this moment in our careers.

MANGANIELLO: And now Reid Carolin.

BOMER: “Scene 1, Take 1, Joe, you’re going to get naked and cannonball Channing into a pool.”

TATUM: A crowning achievement.

MANGANIELLO: Yeah. That education really paid off. Matt is such a humble guy. I feel like sometimes I’m Matt’s agent letting people know Matt can sing. “You’ve gotta hear Matt sing.” We were on Part 1 one night. We were filming in Tampa. Matt and I went out to this karaoke bar and I dared Matt to sing Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” He sang it so well and so hard and nailed every note, which is really, really difficult. A lot of people crash on the rocks of Bon Jovi songs at karaoke bars all over the world. Matt killed it so bad that he got a free bottle of water afterwards. I remember coming back the next day and talking to Channing or Stephen or whoever at the time. I was like, “You’ve got to get Matt to sing. You’ve got to make Matt sing.” I’m so happy that the world will now know, or at least those that have not seen him sing will now know, that he killed that D’Angelo song which once again is not easy.

NASH: When I got the call that we were going to do the second one, being the only guy on the dance crew that was currently reading the AARP magazine, and staying in touch with everybody and getting a chance to read Joe’s book and see the shape that he was in, I’m going, “Oh jeez, here we go again.” Even though we had the experience of the first one, I think everybody at some point in their life has that dream where they’re at school or they’re at a function and they’re naked. The great thing about signing up for this a second time is you get to not only have that dream but actually live it. You know it’s coming. And it doesn’t make it any different than it was the first time because it had been a couple of years and a couple of years on my body. I mean, I’m not an alcoholic but I might be. (laughs) Let’s just say that the California venues will not go out of business as long as I’m alive. When I did my prep for this, you’re doing it and you’re dying. You go, “Okay, I’m going to cut carbs out. I’m going to cut out processed stuff. I’m going to cut this out and that out.” I just kept waiting and waiting, telling myself, “This will be the last bottle of wine I drink.” And then now, we’re like nine weeks out and I’m like, “Okay, this will be the last bottle of wine.” Then one night, we got to Savannah, I purposely went to Whole Foods and got two really good bottles of wine and I set them on the counter and I said to myself, “I’m really going to see if I’m an alcoholic or not.” Anybody can go to jail and not drink. But if you’ve got the bottles in the cell with you and you don’t drink them, you’re alright. So if nothing else, I realized that I just like the taste of wine. I don’t have a drinking problem.

TATUM: I don’t know what I’m going to say after that. I’ll just keep mine very short. I can look around to all these lovely, talented people up here and just thank them because this is a crazy movie. This is a crazy part of my life and now I can always look around through the years and say, “Hey, remember that time we all got naked together?” We have that. And I just want to thank them all for being in the film. I love you.

Q: Greg, what favorite moment did you have?

GREGORY JACOBS: I had none.

TATUM: Greg is still blacked out until the movie comes out and the numbers come in.

JACOBS: For me, I’m just so thrilled that these guys all put their faith in me. I produced the first movie. I haven’t directed a movie in years. I just had such an amazing time. I really had a great time. It was such an incredible collaboration. Reid and Chan and the whole cast, it was a really special group of people to work with. I felt so proud of them. I guess one of my favorite moments was that anytime there was a performance, I was so rooting for these guys. I was so emotionally invested. They worked so hard, each of them, on these routines. It was pretty amazing to watch and really a dream to be able to get to shoot them. It was so fun to get to shoot those dance routines, and at that convention at the end to have 900 cheering people every day energizing them and us and trying to blaze through it as fast as we could because we only had 28 days to shoot the whole movie. It was really a cool experience. I want to thank everybody too now that everybody is all gathered here. Thank you guys for making it such a great experience for me. I learned a lot.

TATUM: I want to quickly thank you because this movie wouldn’t be made without Greg. That’s really true. There’s no one else that we could have done the film with. Soderbergh had sort of retired and the torch wasn’t going anywhere until Greg picked it up. So thank you, man. You really killed this movie.

REID CAROLIN: It’s the writer’s turn. I’ll talk for a little while. I hope that’s cool.

TATUM: I wrote something last night for this specific moment.

CAROLIN: Yeah. I guess my favorite moment actually precedes production. It was when I was up in Vancouver with my buddy, Chan, and we were trying to figure out how to write this movie. We were in the middle of the second act of the movie and we started realizing this stuff we’re writing really sucks and maybe we shouldn’t do this. Maybe we should just go home and figure this out. Greg wasn’t going to let us do that, but we were having a moment. And Chan said, “Yeah. Screw this man. I’m going out to the hot tub.” So, he went out to the hot tub and was sitting in the hot tub and I went out there.

TATUM: I might have had a bottle of bourbon. Whatever. Why not?

CAROLIN: There might have been a bottle of bourbon involved. I got in the hot tub with him and I was like, “Dude, what happened in that food truck in real life when you were out riding up to the strippers convention?” He was like, “Nothing. Nothing happened. That’s why we’re having the problem because we didn’t do anything.” I’m like, “Yeah, but what did you do? What did you talk about?” He was like, “Nothing, man. We just blew each other up.” I said, “What do you mean blow each other up?” And he said, “We just told each other how great we were all the time, how wonderful we were, and how good we looked.” And I was like, “Well, we have a movie.” That was the turning point for me. I said, “That’s it!”

Q: Who gets credit for the brilliance of casting Jada Pinkett Smith?

TATUM: The gods and the goddesses.

JACOBS: You know it was originally written for a guy. We were all together and I remember Reid said, “You know, wouldn’t it be cool if…” and literally he did not have to finish that sentence. We all knew where you were going with it. “Oh yes! That’s a great idea.” The idea of it being a woman, it was the group and the gods. But Jada was really the first person we thought of and thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, she agreed to do it.

TATUM: And then came in and really created that character. We were just a bunch of dudes trying to figure it out. Basically, we just wrote placeholders for all the female parts and then wanted to cast the women and have them tell us how they wanted to do it, because they’re brilliant and they’re amazing creators in their own right. So, they really all killed it.

CAROLIN: I don’t think you got pages until the day before shooting or something like that.

TATUM: We wanted to give her the pages so she couldn’t quit until the last minute, so she’d feel really guilty if she didn’t like them.

Q: The movie says a lot about male friendship and there are some really nice, intimate moments between you guys. Can you talk about why it was important to have that be a part of the movie?

RODRIGUEZ: I think it was just a natural byproduct of how we all felt about each other, and I think it was the thing that you got a glimpse of in the first movie and it was partly probably why there was the impetus for the second one because there was a story there to be had. You get a group of people in a room and you let them play and get a chance to get to know each other and sometimes magic just comes out of that. That’s what happened on the first movie. We all really made friends that we’ll have for the rest of our lives, and through that, through blowing each other up, as Channing said, there was just a whole lot of gold to be mined there and that came through in the movie very naturally. It’s the skin that gets you in the movie and then it’s the humanity of these characters and their friendships that you actually end up falling in love with.

MANGANIELLO: I think you have to give a lot of credit to Greg. I know that early on Greg said, “Look, we’re going to get to the end of this movie, and at the end, people are going to have tears in their eyes when they say goodbye to these guys.” It’s like you thought, “We’re making a male stripper movie. People are going to be crying in a male stripper movie?” But I put it in the back of my head and thought, “Okay. Just keep that in mind.” And sure enough, when we got towards the end, that last day was really hard. It was hard to say goodbye to my friends. The ending was smart too because they changed the ending. There was a different ending written that was more definitive, and I think to go out in this Diner-esque way where you don’t know what’s going to happen on Monday morning with these guys, but you care about them and you’re rooting for them, that’s really just a tribute to Greg and the heart that he brings as a director to this project. I think it was such a perfect direction and evolution from the first movie.

TATUM: That last scene that we actually shot was the last scene that we shot in the movie. It was the last day, the last thing up, so it was pretty nostalgic.

JACOBS: And then when we started drinking.

TATUM: I might have started before that but whatever. There was no dialogue.

JACOBS: There were ice cream carts and alcohol.

Q: This summer there are hardly any movies that are directly aimed at women. For all the bro romance that is going on in this movie, there’s also eye candy for gals. Do you see yourselves carving out that territory as the girl’s movie?

TATUM: We’re going to get all the guys, trust me.

Q: Any of the gals want to answer that?

MACDOWELL: I wouldn’t mind. First of all, there are a lot of really sexy, hot women in this movie. And also, I think it’s a great date movie because the guys are going to go with their ladies and be inspired, and hopefully, they have it all set up at home and have taken care of things ahead of time and they’ve got their little costumes and hair and the tone is sort of set. I was slightly embarrassed when I went to see the movie with my manager and a bunch of strangers because I found it a little arousing. I think the best thing to do is to take a woman to go see this fantasy and have some plans for after the movie, because it’s already warmed up. They can watch things explode or whatever they want to do.

TATUM: Go create your own explosions. July 1st is now International Give-Your-Partner-a-Lap-Dance Day.

Q: Channing, your dance moves just keep getting better and better. How long do you guys have to practice, do the choreography, and get all those routines down when you only have 28 days to shoot?

TATUM: We had a big CGI budget and that’s actually “tWitch” with my face basically on his body. (laughs) We had a good amount of time on this one. I don’t know exactly the amount of days but everybody showed up is really what I would want to say. Everybody came and they were like, “We’re doing it this time.” I think it was a little bit of an oversight on the first one that we couldn’t fit all the dance routines in the movie. So, we designed the way we filmed the dancing a little bit better so we could show them all, because after you see one person go on stage and take their clothes off, the next one gets a little less interesting because they all end the same. As far as the dance goes, I just wanted to blow it out of the box. The first one was tethered to reality and the real world of male reviews. They’re not all that interesting. They kind of suck to be honest. I was like if we’re going to do another one, I want it all to just go… I don’t want them ever to be able to do a fireman routine on any stage ever again. All these guys brought their own thing to it, everyone. It was cool. It was fun to craft what they were really interested in doing.

Q: There’s an expression, “Happy wife, happy life.” Jada, what cup of brown sugar did you bring from the movie back to Big Willy? Did you run any of your lines from the movie with him?

PINKETT-SMITH: Uh, no. Any of my lines from this movie? Oh no, that won’t work on him. I have to use a whole different technique with Big Daddy. Yeah. I’ll leave that right there.

Q: Can you talk about the audition process for the everyday women, those extras that showed up and got a chance to experience that amazing happy ending?

TATUM: (laughs) I love your questions. Your questions have been better than any of our answers. They were wildly well behaved. I mean, in the first film, they ripped Matthew McConaughey’s thong off of his body and that was not even a hundred of them. I thought that a thousand women was going to be uncontrollable almost. But then, I don’t know, everybody was just really well behaved. I wish I had an anecdote that was really crazy, but we just loved that they were there. I think they were just really enjoying it because we didn’t rehearse on stage so they didn’t get to see what was coming in a way. They got to see it for the first time every time in a way. The way we shot it we piecemealed it out so we didn’t do the whole thing all at once. We just had fun and had fun with them and that’s it.

Q: For Stephen, Amber and Channing, can you talk about that epic routine at the end? What was the experience like filming that?

HEARD: I wish I could take credit for the acting, but I wouldn’t say it was acting. When I first talked to Channing on the phone about this, he was so apologetic. His voice was so… He was very cautionary and polite. He said, “Would you be okay with this? It’s like a lap dance I’m giving you.” And I said, “So I’m not taking my top off?” “No, you don’t strip. We’re stripping.” “So I don’t do any stripping?” “No, no, no. We give it to you.” “So I’m just sitting there?” “Well yeah, you’re kind of sitting there.” That sounded okay to me and then I found out. So, a lot of the interaction isn’t acting. It’s genuine. I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time when I wasn’t scared to death. And it was fun.

TATUM: I think we actually filmed her reaction the first time that we showed her what the dance was going to be with the choreographer. We’ve got it somewhere. I’ve got to send it to you. It is epic.

HEARD: I think it was the polite, half-speed version of that dance. I didn’t see it for real until it was hair and make-up and a thousand screaming extras surrounding me.

BOSS: That was actually the first time that I met you. We were going through the routine and there’s a part when she leaned over the chair and I’m standing behind her. It was slow enough for me to say, “Hey, I’m tWitch.”

Q: What was the vibe like on set between takes and between scenes? You guys are clearly all friends. Was there anything you liked to do together?

TATUM: You’re kind of seeing it right now. It really is. I’ll let everybody else talk to it, but it really was the reason to do the second one. You wouldn’t even have to write anything. You just turn the cameras on. I know a lot of people come up and say, “Oh, we just loved each other. We all really like hanging out and stuff.” I don’t know. I haven’t been on a movie where people would show up on their days off to watch and to support their friends. That doesn’t happen on other movies. It just doesn’t. And that’s ultimately what happened every day on this thing.

Q: Channing, can you talk a little about how this all came about? Was it opening weekend of the first one that you said, “We’ve got to do a sequel?” Or did it take a while since you mentioned being in Vancouver trying to come up with a plot?

TATUM: Pretty much the only thing we knew, because people have to go to the first one to really even merit making a second one. We couldn’t have any idea that the first one was going to do what it did. I mean that’s why we made it for so little money. We were just making a little independent movie and then we won the lottery with it somehow. And then, after that, I think the only thing we knew that was creatively left on the table was the convention and a few other stories that I don’t even know if they actually made it in. We knew Matt was going to sing and that was about it. And then, with the rest of it, we had to start filling in. And Greg really took the lead on that one.

Q: Did you have a déjà vu moment when you were filming this?

TATUM: Everything was pretty different when I was 19. This is a better world than the one I lived in. I’ll just be honest.

Q: The dance scenes were amazing. Were there any accidents?

TATUM: We did have a little mishap.

MANGANIELLO: Yes. Take 1 of my finale routine, which we rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. My dance partner did something unrehearsed and the result was an audible rip and a pop and it was my bicep. We went into the back and we had our All Valley Karate Tournament Miyagi moment where I was on the table. Normally, a bicep snaps and rolls up into your shoulder and the arm turns black and caves in, and that didn’t happen. So I thought it was a dislocated bone in my arm.

TATUM: They’re so well trained that they just don’t do normal stuff.

MANGANIELLO: There were these masseuses trying to work what we thought was a bone back into my arm. And Channing is there and Greg and Stephen. Channing says, “I can move my routine up and I’ll do it today.” And I just thought, “There’s no way.” Like I’m not going to make it tomorrow. Tomorrow my arm’s not going to move. If we can go, we’ve got to go now.”

TATUM: It was right out of “Rocky,” man. I was like, “Dude, I’ll go on.” He’s like, “No, I got it. Just pop it back in. Just go!”

MANGANIELLO: So I came back out and for the next 4-1/2 hours we did this routine which you’ve all seen. It involves this sex swing and these monkey bars on top that I had to run and jump up on top of. My brain wouldn’t allow me to visualize landing on it because it knew. It was trying to stop me. But we made it through and everybody gave me a pat on the back and an ice bag, “Bro! That was amazing!” Sophia was there that day. We got back to my trailer, and as soon as the door closed, she looked at me and said, “If I see you at the fucking gym tomorrow, we’re done. I’m going to fucking leave you. That’s it!”

TATUM: So he hasn’t been in a gym since.

MANGANIELLO: Exactly! I don’t even think about gyms.

Q: In the process of making the first film and now this one, what did you learn about what women might want in a man?

TATUM: Who wants to take that one? (laughs) Anybody? Let’s let Donald take this one.

GLOVER: Really?

TATUM: I think it’s actually kind of nice because you have a really beautiful [approach]. You ask a woman. You talk to her.

GLOVER: With the scene I had, it was like kind of a thing where I remember glowing after I found out I got this. I was like, “Would this be cool if you just rapped to a girl? Is that going to feel smooth like a free-style rap.” At the end of the day, what I found out after asking friends, “Is this cool? What do you think?” It was like everybody wants it to be a conversation. One thing my dad always told me when I was doing this was, “One thing your mom taught me was you either want to be right or you want to be happy. And to be happy, it’s got to be a conversation.” And that’s everything that I have in this film. You saw it. We’re dancing together. It’s not like I’m telling you what you want or you’re telling me. It’s always something that’s going back and forth. I thought that was really the big thing about this. I never saw it as just like a lesson being learned as much as we’re all having fun and this isn’t a scary thing. This is really cool. Even like when there was a question about the girls being kind of crazy in the convention scene. There’s one scene where I’m dancing with her and her dress came up and I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” She was like, “Oh no, that was awesome. Don’t stop!” We’re friends and we’re still hanging out. It’s been like I talk to her all the time. It was a freeing feeling like a conversation.

TATUM: (laughs) I’m friends with all of those girls, too.

Q: Channing, how was it working with the Coen Brothers on “Hail, Caesar!”? Have you finished that already?

TATUM: Yes. It’s done. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on a movie doing something I had no idea how to do. I had to tap dance and do some other very scary things.

Q: Do they do all of this storyboarding and have this very exact idea of what they want to do?

TATUM: Yeah. I’ve never seen a pair of directors so prepared and willing to show you. A lot of directors are close to the chest with their storyboard, but they roll them right out and have everybody look at them. It’s pretty special.

Q: Can you talk about the “Gambit” picture that Rupert Wyatt will direct? At this point, what are you most excited about?

TATUM: We’re so early in it. I have some things but who knows. It’s pretty fluid at this point. I do believe that Rupert and I have the exact same vision of what we want to do and we want it to be different. I think Gambit is a really specifically set up character to not do some of these things some of these other superheroes have to do. It’s who they are, and I think his character lends itself to doing something maybe slightly different.

Q: Do you want to bring some of these kinds of moves to the role a little bit?

TATUM: Who knows? You never know what time it’s going to be set in.

Q: Nobody can do what you do. Would you ever want to do a regular musical?

TATUM: I’m not exactly a singer. I mean, one day maybe if I ever get better at singing. Yeah.

“Magic Mike XXL” opens in theaters on July 1st.




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