Summer 2015 will be a playground for new franchise installments - and amongst the many superheroes, robots, and dinosaur hunters who are participating, there's going to be a pack of male strippers on a wild road trip. Yes, a sequel to Magic Mike - Steven Soderbergh's lucrative, critically well-received, stripper dramedy starring Channing Tatum - is slated to compete alongside the various genre tentpoles arriving next year; though Soderbergh won't return as director for Magic Mike 2, he will be very much an active participant in the filmmaking process on the project.
The Magic Mike sequel - rumored to be titled Magic Mike XXL - has Soderbergh's longtime assistant director, Gregory Jacobs sitting at the helm, and has long been described as a road trip movie by Tatum (who's co-writing the sequel with his writer/producer partner, Reid Carolin). From the very beginning, Tatum has maintained that this film will be more comedic and, in turn, "crazier" than its predecessor; much like Magic Mike was loosely inspired by the younger Tatum's real-life professional stripping experiences, the sequel will once again be an example of art imitating life, according to its leading man/co-writer.
Tatum informed GQ that there was one story in particular - one involving a couple of strippers' conventions that he attended - that he had wanted to explore in the first Magic Mike installment, but left it out after Soderbergh encouraged him to save that for its own movie (rather than attempt to make it work as a smaller part of the first film's larger narrative). By the sound of it, a massive stripper convention is going to be the destination where Mike and his coworkers are headed in the sequel. Here is the relevant excerpt from the GQ piece:
Now it is a movie that they are going to make, as a sequel to the first. Rumored to be called Magic Mike XXL, it'll be an on-the-road adventure, inspired by the two strippers' conventions Tatum attended. "We cut out so much stuff that was just really juicy fun things to happen in a movie that you haven't seen before," he says. One of the conventions he attended was in Raleigh, North Carolina. They went en masse in his buddy's van and danced for 3,000 women. "The women would come from miles and miles around," he recalls. "Then you lock the doors and you say all bets are off. It gets zany and crazy, and it's a wild ride. It's an incubator for insanity. It doesn't matter almost what you do onstage. I don't want to put anything in black and white on a page, but if you've been to one, you know how crazy it gets, and now pour kerosene on that. You've seen Magic Mike—now multiply that. Mob mentality. It's just exponentially crazier. I thought it was absolutely insane."
By the sound of it, Magic Mike 2 will be taking the typical sequel approach, which involves attempting to outdo its predecessor in terms of sheer magnitude. On the one hand, that could potentially result in the loss of the more intimate moments and insight offered by its predecessor, which examined both professional stripping as a career and as a lifestyle choice. Then again, a stripper convention - as Tatum and Soderbergh have said before - is very much a setup that lends itself to a cinematic interpretation - and by offering a thoughtful, technically-sophisticated, examination of that scenario, Magic Mike 2 could make for a very different, yet just as worthwhile viewing experience as the first movie.
Soderbergh, according to the GQ article, has yet to budge on his decision to refrain from just directing this film himself, but he shall be serving as both Magic Mike 2's director of photography and the editor, similar to what he's done many a time before on his past directorial efforts - often going under the cinematographer pseudonym "Peter Andrews" and the editor moniker "Mary Ann Bernard." Could this be the first movie in a while where Soderbergh himself receives credit for handling those jobs?
To sum it up: it remains to be seen if Tatum and Carolin put together a quality script for Magic Mike 2, but the sequel ought to be just as aesthetically-pleasing as its predecessor, thanks to Soderbergh's involvement. Now, we just need commitments from Tatum's fellow charismatic hunks in the first movie (Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, and Alex Pettyfer, among them), and we'll be on our way.
Are you intrigued by the details that've been revealed about Magic Mike 2 thus far? Glad to hear that Soderbergh is going to be so involved behind the camera, even though he won't actually direct the film?
Magic Mike 2 (not the official title... yet, anyway) opens in U.S. theaters on July 3rd, 2015.