Director Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire has introduced the world to what he hopes will become the first female professional fighter turned action hero. The director has a history of infusing real-world elements into his films in a distinctly Soderbergh manner. With 2009’s The Girlfriend Experience, he built a film around the life of porn star Sasha Grey. Haywire, as mentioned, is centered on Gina Carano’s formidable fighting skills. Following in that trend, Soderbergh’s upcoming male-stripping comedy Magic Mike is based on Haywire star Channing Tatum’s youthful dalliance with the profession.
While speaking at the Los Angeles press day for Haywire, Tatum also touched on the inception of Magic Mike, his second collaboration with Soderbergh:
“We were sitting over a beer and I told him that I was a stripper for eight months when I was nineteen,” Tatum recalled. “And he said that would be a great movie. And I said, ‘well I want to make a movie out of it.’ And he’s said, ‘you should write it.’ And I’m like, ‘yeah Soderbergh, Steven Soderbergh I’ll go write that.’ Cut to three or four months later, I read an interview where he said that he would be willing to direct. I called him up and said, ‘how much bullshit is in this article?’ He was like, ‘I’m as serious as bone’s spur, we should sit down.’ And we sat down…at Carney’s over a hot dog ironically enough. And we decided to do it.”
The details of the production were ironed out with remarkable speed. They negotiated a deal in which Tatum’s business partner would pen the script, they would co-finance the film and Tatum would co-star. The screenplay was completed within a month, they have just recently completed reshoots and are currently in post-production with an eye on a June 29th release date. The relationship has been fruitful enough that Tatum is now slated to star in Soderbergh’s next film, a “psychopathology drama” entitled Side Effects. Though funding on that film is reportedly currently in flux.
“Hopefully we’ll keep it going. I’m trying not to let him go away and start painting any time soon,” Channing said laughingly of Soderbergh’s rumored retirement. “I’m trying to keep him going.”
Tatum described the experience of returning to his stripping youth as, “really weird.”
“It wasn’t as comfortable as I remembered it,” he said. “I think I was nineteen, kind of dumb and crazy. A lot crazier than I am now. It’s really, really naked to walk out in front of a group of girls naked. And you get real reactions from them, so when you walk out and take it all off you want to get a good reaction! It’s really hard to be sexy when you’re naked as a guy. Girls can just walk and move and be hot, and guys, you don’t really want to move a lot. You want to keep it cool. It was a very eye-opening experience, because I had done it before, for real. It was strange getting back on the horse. These guys would come into the rehearsals, and I’d be like, ‘today’s the day take those clothes off, brother! It’s going to happen sooner or later, so you have to get used to moving naked!’ It was so much fun. We had a barrel of laughs.”
Magic Mike invites you to laugh with (but not at) it on June 29th.
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