Whether you saw or admit to having seen 2012’s surprise hit Magic Mike, here’s what you need to know about its appropriately-titled sequel Magic Mike XXL: It is bigger, bolder, bromancey-er and most importantly, its celebration of female sexuality is the perfect table setting for a good night out with your significant other. Take it from this female who has already experienced the XXL: If you wisely decide to see the film with your lady, you will get lucky not regret it.
But I digress… At its core, XXL is a film about male friendship and the antics that ensue when Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) and the Kings of Tampa (Kevin Nash, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez) set out for one last ride/performance via a trip to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. Screen Rant recently sat down with actor/WWE Hall of Fame member Kevin Nash to discuss the fun of his character Tarzan and XXL, his plans for the John Wick sequel and why it’s hard out there for a 6’9″ man in Hollywood.
When you were first cast in the first film, what was the reaction from your fans and friends and how has it evolved now that you’re doing a second one?
Well the first one, the thing I don’t think people realize is that when we went through all the rehearsals I was on, I was spot-on [with my dances]. And then Steven [Soderbergh] said, “No.” Like, when I did the jumping jacks I didn’t jump, I just moved my arms and so many people were like, “He can’t move!” And I’m like, “I can move.” When I read the script he didn’t have much dialogue, but to me I looked at it as if Tarzan doesn’t overdose, The Kid doesn’t get the spot, we don’t have a movie. It’s pretty pivotal for Tarzan to bite it. That’s kind of good enough for me. I don’t know, maybe I look at things differently, but I just know that there’s nobody in some casting agency anywhere going: “Clooney? Nash? Clooney? Nash?” I know where my spot is, I’m going to play a character, so Tarzan is a good character.
And Hollywood is a little shy about casting people who are really tall.
Tell me about it. They don’t want to shoot us. I did Rock of Ages. Tom Cruise is a great guy, great guy and very smart. They’re going to give him two 6’1″ bodyguards and Tom Cruise is like, “No, give me two seven-foot bodyguards, because if you put me between two giraffes, anybody is going to look short.” But you have to shoot around us. Well you look at Brad Garrett, he’s 6’8″ and was on Everybody Loves Raymond for all those years and when you watch the show, over the course of four episodes maybe you’ll see him standing once. He’s always pressed against the counter, he’s at the table, he’s never standing because when you shoot a two-shot and have him in it, the height difference is drastic. The only time you get cast as a big person is if somebody smaller is going to beat you.
Yeah because it goes back to David and Goliath, Jack and the Beanstalk, to conquer the giant that’s why you don’t see a 6’10” guy playing the defense attorney, the dentist, the banker. I’ve always wanted to get all my big friends into a western and have us come into town on Clydesdales. They see us coming and when we get into town they realize, “Oh my God, that’s a pack of 7′ men.” And the Clydesdales, it’s one of those things that when I get on a normal horse and put my body weight down, you can feel the horse thinking, “Who’s the alpha here?”
One of the things I love about talking with the gentleman in this film is that it’s obvious you all actually like each other and there is a real bond. How has that been and what was it like when you first started?
On the first one, the first time we all met was at dance rehearsal, so here we are and no one is really a dancer except Chan, though Joe and Matt had dancing backgrounds because they were trained at Carnegie and Adam is just Adam, he’s got street moves. So it’s the first day and it’s awkward and the day ends and Alison the choreographer says, “By the way, tomorrow you’re in your underwear.” And I’m like, “Welp.” I remember the first time we pulled our pants off in front of the girls, you couldn’t count to three before I had a robe on, then after the third take it’s like, “Once you’re naked, you’re naked.” On this one, that factor was gone.
How long did it take them to ask you about your wrestling career?
Joe walked in the first rehearsal and said, “Slam me!” But that’s just Joe.
I once asked a stunt choreographer, with Joe, to teach me a move to take Joe down.
Single leg dive. Single leg. Just watch out because if they know how to fight, they’ll stick their knee right in your head.
Have you enjoyed acquiring new fans from the first one to the second? What’s been the fun benefit there?
It makes me happiest if somebody sees me someplace and they say, “You’re…” and you just wait to see if they know. There was a young kid who came up to me the other day, I was sitting waiting to get on a plane and he said, “You’re…” and I was just going to say, “Kevin Nash,” and he says, “Englehart. You’re Guard Engelhart, from The Longest Yard.” Doesn’t know me from anything else, just knows me from that film. He likes football, plays football. This 11-year-old kid who likes football. I’ll see a woman at a wrestling signing, and she’ll come up and have a Magic Mike DVD, “I was hoping you’d sign before the matches started, because I didn’t want to sit around and have to watch.” It’s a little different, but I look at my Twitter page and it’s 90 percent male. That’s my whole thing, none of my male fans have ever seen the movie until I meet them and then they know the movie scene-by-scene, but they’ve “never seen it.”
This one in particular, for straight women and gay men, it is the biggest tease in the best way. I keep saying that I’m going to say, “Men, bring your girlfriends because they will be happy and all turned-on and will want to hang out with you after.”‘
When Jada [Pinkett-Smith] comes out and it goes real time, that last 20 minutes or whatever, it’s great because I’m very limited in what I can do so they gave me a performance piece. Then Matt sings, that’s Matt’s voice, then big Joe and tWitch and Channing [all dance], which is almost like a CGI [performance].
Having appeared in Magic Mike, does it change what roles are offered to you?
I don’t know yet for this one, but after the first one I was offered a homosexual biker, a transvestite, for some reason Hollywood’s gag is to get a big giant guy and try to emasculate him as much as possible. … It’s just one of those things, I’ve been a dinosaur my whole life. I don’t know what it’s like to be the caveman who’s afraid of dinosaurs.
I would get a ton of work if I was really grotesquely ugly. If I had a really ruddy complexion I’d work way more. I’ve gone in for so many things and they’re like, “Nah, he’s kind of good-looking.”
You and John Wick, I have watched that movie a lot. Do you get to be in the sequel/prequel?
I don’t know yet.
That movie is such a delight.
I loved that movie. I loved it. I’m alive. Especially as he walks away and has that dog and is all beat up if he was to go to me, he let me live, so if he shows up at my doorstep, then I would be the perfect reason, once they kill Francis, to have the dog. It could be a nice little cameo.
Oh I hope that happens! Everyone loves that film and everyone in it.
My wife actually loved it too. And of course you never know how a film is going to turn out when you do it, but it was one of those things where I read it and they were like, “We have no budget. This is what we can give you.” It was freezing cold, we shot at 4am right by the Hudson, the wind just ripping through you. And by then they were way over budget, way over time trying to cram in this scene and the two directors were trying to figure out how to get Keanu in there [in front of me] and I said, you could light him on fire and they won’t see him, just have him walk in behind me like he would.
Magic Mike XXL is in theaters July 1, 2015.