Sometimes casting a role in a film can be easy. In the case of Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, Channing Tatum was a natural choice for the lead role — it was in part due to his experience as a stripper that the film was made in the first place. “I mentioned that I’d worked as a stripper for eight months when I was 18 and 19 years old,” Tatum recalls. “I’ve always thought about doing a story about that life because whenever the subject comes up, guys always want to know about it. ‘How’d you get into it? What was it like? How much money did you make?’ Steven said, ‘You should do it. Absolutely. You should write it and I’ll direct it.’”
The film’s story, set in the world of male stripping, centers on Tatum’s character, whose stage personality, Magic Mike, has been the main attraction of the club where he works. Into his life steps a young lad he calls the Kid (Alex Pettyfer). Mike sees the potential in the Kid and introduces him to the lucrative and decadent business of stripping for fun and profit. But things get a bit complicated when Mike meets Brooke (Cody Horn), the Kid’s sister, and realizes he wants something more in his life — but that his nighttime profession might impede his happiness.
Though neither the character nor any of the incidents in the film are based on Tatum’s life, Tatum says the atmosphere of Magic Mike is very consistent with his experiences as part of an all-male revue. “I’d show up for two hours and make $150, sometimes as much as $600 a week, all cash, which was a ton of money for me at the time,” Tatum explains. “I really enjoyed the performing aspect of it, although being in a thong can be a humbling experience. The more you try to look sexy the lamer it is, so you just have to commit to the comedy and the skit because that can be hilarious. Strippers are some of the corniest guys you’ll ever meet. If it’s a fireman skit, it has to be the corniest possible version of a fireman, but the women love it; they scream and laugh and stuff money into your underwear. It was wild. We thought we were rock stars.”
Magic Mike is available starting Oct. 23 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
Photo: © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.