Where the original Steven Soderbergh-directed Magic Mike was a surprisingly dark, gritty look at male stripper subculture, its sequel Magic Mike XXL, directed by Greg Jacobs, is a much more lighthearted continuation of the subject in that it explores the humor in male bonding and road trips, along with a very well-crafted appreciation and celebration of the way in which women appreciate men.
Screen Rant recently sat down with XXL star Adam Rodriguez, aka King of Tampa member Tito, to discuss his character's evolution into an artisinal frozen yogurt experience specialist, how the Magic Mike movies became the best gigs of his career and why, thanks to an unforgettable scene in the film, he'll never be able to look at convenience stores in the same way.
I just spoke to Kevin Nash and he was walking me through how you all met during your first dance rehearsal. Was there anything you learned that you are now happy to have in your actor repertoire?
The kip-up [a move for which you use your legs to kick/jump yourself up from lying flat on the floor]. Yeah, come on. I'm ready to battle Jackie Chan now with that move. [Laughs] The kip-up and I pulled out an old break dance move out of the closet which was like a baby leg swipe. I did a full swipe in the first movie which was sort of like a back flip on one hand, it was in the Navy routine in the first Magic Mike and then this time I did what's called a baby swipe, it's just a little different. It's pretty dynamic but it's not a full flip. So it's kind of nice to dust off a couple of old moves I hadn't done since I was 12.
It's also the fun and the challenge. How far can I push this? It's Magic Mike XXL so you've got to show up and do something bigger and better. I started with the hair, actually. I figured I'd make my hair XXL and blonde and really make this guy a character. He's living at the beach, moving in an artistic direction by creating this artisinal frozen yogurt experience for people, I feel like for Tito that was the thing. He loves the unexpected so he creates these yogurt flavors that are these things you'd never think to put together and people end up loving it. Just very beachy, put the blonde streaks in, you don't expect to see that, he was this hip-hop guy with chains in the first movie and he's evolving, he's tapping into his inner-artist.
By chance was the company name, "Fro-yo' Body" your brainchild?
It was? It's so great.
And then, we ended up singing "Fro-yo Body" to the tune of The Backstreet Boys.
Can you tell when a fan approaches you whether they're going to ask you about Magic Mike or one of your other roles?
There's a little look in the eye that happens when you get a Magic Mike question and I love it. It's the job I'm most happy to talk about, it's my favorite gig in my whole career, working with these people. These guys are all truly friends, people I keep in touch with on a regular basis and try to spend as much time with as possible. Truly, just in terms of the quality of the people and the work environment, I've never had a better experience. You really get to go to work everyday and play. You see it when you watch the movie, you can't make that up. You can't feel that kind of energy coming off the screen, this kind of a good time, it's infectious for a reason because it was really happening. We all love spending time with each other and we all got to play in a way we were all excited about. It's kind of the reason you become an actor, to get to that kind of environment. Like, "Hey, you got an idea? Throw it out. Whoever's got the best idea, that's the one we're going to do," and everyone feels comfortable trying something. "Yeah, you want to dye your hair blonde? Fuck it, go for it. Let's see what happens." And then braids for my routine. I'm like, "You know what, this is a real hip-hop routine and I feel like the hair is too beachy, it's not going to work, we've got to switch this up, I want to put braids in."
The one scene we missed in the movie, is a woman or someone braiding your hair.
That would have been great, a clip of that would've been great.
Like a quick shot from in the conference room or something? I just wondered how it happened.
You're absolutely right, that would've been good. It would've been great if Jada was doing it. Or Donald. Now I'm pissed that we didn't. I love Donald, but I would've rather had Jada. She's incredible. She brought something to this movie that brought the audience literally into the movie, which was a stroke of genius and happenstance, because it was written for a man. Nobody else could've done what Jada did.
Yes, it is titillating in the best way. All the women I saw it with were texting their boyfriends afterward, "You better be ready for me when I get home."
And the beauty is, if guys are smart enough to go see it I swear this to me is one of the funniest road trip bromance movies that has been out in I don't know how long, maybe since Hangover. You can just go and take this ride along with these guys and you're loving it. There's so much great camaraderie going on throughout the whole thing. If guys are smart enough to go see this, you will not lose, boys.
Was there one day on set that was more surreal than others?
I will personally never look at a convenience store the same way again. It happened to me when we were done filming the movie I took my family, we were leaving to go on a road trip to Charleston for a few days after we wrapped and I stopped at a gas station along the way to get gas and snacks and I walk into the convenience store at the gas station and I literally stopped and took a moment, like "Holy shit, I'm never going to look at one of these places the same way again." It completely changed what I want to see happen every time I walk into a convenience store. It's a beautiful moment.
And Joe said that during the filming of that scene, the woman who was staring at him the whole time didn't break.
She didn't. She was amazing. And what a beautiful smile she has when she finally does, it lights up the screen. She held it so well and ends up having this gorgeous smile, you're like, "Oh my God, what a moment!"
Is there anything you can think of that was left on the cutting room floor that might surface on a Blu-ray or DVD?
That's a good question, I don't recall seeing anything. I'll tell you what would've been hilarious, if you'd have seen my face when that whipped cream came squirting out of those canisters. My face probably looked like a deer in headlights.
Was it too much?
It was way beyond what anyone expected. The prop master filled those whipped cream canisters with about three times more gas than they were supposed to have for effect. She's like, "This will be great!" And I don't think anyone had any idea that these things were going to come out like two firehoses of whipped cream. I'd love to have seen my face in that moment, what the expression was. Everybody was covered in whipped cream, even Steven, it was everywhere. The set was covered in whipped cream, it was hilarious. The downside was that it smelled like stale whipped cream for the next two days. [Laughs] Small price to pay.
Magic Mike XXL will be in theaters July 1, 2015.