At 19, Channing Tatum was thrusting his way towards stardom in an all-male dance troupe, gyrating to Ginuwine for a fistful of dollars. Now he’s returned to the scene of the crime with Magic Mike. Wonderland sits down with Channing and co-star Matthew McConaughey to discuss their first times.
The crowds attending Magic Mike screenings have been getting almost as much press as the film has. Have either of you snuck into a cinema to experience the film with a real audience?
Channing: I had someone send me pictures of a guy standing up in his boxers in the movie theatre getting tips and the girls are going bananas! It was genius. He’s the smartest guy out there. “Go where the money is, buddy!” Not even where the girls are, go where the money is.
Dallas [Matthew’s character] has one of the most memorable strip sequences in the film. How did you prepare for that scene?
Matthew: Man, it was so nerve-wracking, I’d never done anything like it before. It was like de-virginising, man! Even though you know what you’re supposed to do and you’ve prepared for it, you’re a little bit numb; you don’t really hear. You think you’re going to be able to follow the music but all I could hear was ‘boom, boom’. In my head I was thinking ‘if you miss something, don’t retreat!’
C: I made sure I was always there on at least everybody’s first time just to make sure they weren’t freaking out because it’s a really weird thing, putting yourself out there like that. All you can do is just jump, that’s just it. You can prepare for it as much as you want but your first time, you probably won’t remember much of it.
Channing, do you remember your first time on stage as a stripper?
C: I remember very, very vividly. It was nightmarish.
M: How did you do?
C: To be honest, I don’t really remember. I did a boy scout routine and that was horrifying thing number one. Number two was my sister sitting in the front row.
M: Your sister? That’s a hell of an initiation! Did you invite her?
C: No, I didn’t invite her! “Hey Paige, what’s up? Wanna come see me get naked?” No!
Was she amused?
C: She literally couldn’t meet my eye. All her friends were laughing and pointing, all these girls I’d grown up with my entire life. It’s like that horrific nightmare you have, that all of a sudden you’re in class at school and the next thing you know you’re butt naked.
Certain aspects of Dallas’ character could be seen as a send-up of your public persona, Matthew. Were these elements already in the script or did you add them? Like the conga drums…
M: I’ve heard that and I’ve read a few things where people have said ‘Oh, did you see there was a parody of 1999 when you got arrested playing the congas wearing what God gave you’, but I actually didn’t even think about it because I still play. That was my most popular concert, even though it was the one where I was by myself!
Steven Soderbergh has talked about retiring from film and has cited Magic Mike as one of his last projects. Have you tried to talk him out of it?
C: Personally, I think he should take a break. He’s been churning out films at a pace that’s unprecedented for any director. I think he should take a break, clear his mind, cleanse the palate and just do something completely different that will give him a new perspective on it when he comes back.
Like a Magic Mike sequel, perhaps?
C: I would love to. Would you come back Matthew?
M: I’d come back for the right sequel, yeah.
C: For the second one, we think we might want to go even more fun – flip it on its head and just make a broad comedy.
It definitely has an edge we weren’t expecting from the trailers…
C: We really wanted to make Saturday Night Fever. That was the plan. Make a powerful, modern version of it. Soderbergh said, “Everyone wants to make seventies films that didn’t make any money”. People always name some beautiful, obscure film that no-one went to see in the seventies so Soderbergh was like, “Let’s just pick the seventies film that actually made money!”
Words: Frankie Mathieson