Q: You guys wear some hilarious costumes in the movie: Tarzan, cowboy, a Ken doll. What was your best one back in the day?
Tatum: The first one that I actually did was a Boy Scout routine. Like, with a tent next to me.
Collider: I definitely have to talk about Magic Mike. As I mentioned to you, I posted that first image on Christmas day, got a ton of traffic, a lot of interest. Are you a little bit surprised at the level of interest in the project or was it right from the get-go when you started filming that you noticed, “Oh, there’s some interest in this?”
Channing Tatum: I’d be lying if I said that [Steven] Soderbergh and I…we made the decision to make the movie because we thought it’d be, not controversial, but interesting. It was one of the things that sparked his interest and I caught his ear by telling him I was a stripper for eight months between 18 and 19 years of age and he wanted to know what that was like. That’s what everybody wants to know; everybody wants to know the inside of a male strip club looks like. My guy buddies…guys might not want to go to this movie because they’re saying, “I’m not going to a male stripping movie,” because I might say that and I fully understand that. But, I want them to know very clearly that this is a fantasy fulfillment movie and it’s an education, straight up. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a male stripper, this is it.
I think the thing that a lot of people are curious about is, is it PG-13, is it a hard R, what’s the tone?
Tatum: Hard R. It’s a very hard R. Not NC-17, we don’t want it to go that far. But hard R, I think, is where it has to fall. You’ve got a bunch of naked guys. It won’t be full frontal, it’s just thongs or whatever you want to call them and underwear. There’s a couple girls I think that are topless, but it’s not overtly, gratuitously sexual. You’re not going to be like, “Oh my God, this is too much,” in my opinion, which I think I might be on a little bit of the latter half…I’m not very conservative, let’s just say. I think for people that see it, we don’t go so far as in movies like…I haven’t seen Shame, but I hear it’s pretty graphic.
It’s pretty graphic.
Tatum: I’m almost positive that we don’t do anything like that.
Pretty graphic means NC-17 as well.
Tatum: Yeah, so we’re not anywhere near that, in my opinion. Obviously, the rating board hasn’t seen it yet and we’re not done with it yet. We want it to be R. We don’t want it to be NC-17. We want people to see it and have fun. Overall, it’s a fun movie; we wrote it to be fun. We actually wrote it very comedically and in knowing Soderbergh’s style, he doesn’t punch in for close-ups and he doesn’t shoot in a very classic comedic way, so I think, overall, it will make it fun. The stuff that is happening is kind of outlandish, the characters at times will be bizarre.
Is it loosely based on real people or not at all?
Tatum: Really not at all. I took characteristics and aspects of each person, but none of these are based off a real person. None of them. Zero. Not even my character. My character is the only thing that I have in common with the character Adam is that I was a 19-year-old kid and I had a sister and I played football and that’s it. All the stuff that actually happens in the movie is entirely fictitious and made up because we wanted to take liberties and we wanted to make it good and I don’t even know if I’d have put some stuff in the movie that actually happened if you’d have really believed it, or if you’d have believed that we were just making some crap up just to make it up for sake. We couldn’t fit it all in a movie, it would just be a circus of bizarre and craziness.
When you went after Matthew McConaughey and you got him involved, did you say, “You have to be shirtless,” or did he say, “I have to be shirtless?” The joke is that he’s shirtless in every movie.
Tatum: In every movie, yeah. I think I actually even saw a graph in some magazine or online about the amount of time that he’s shirtless in a movie compared to how much money the movie made, and it is a perfect climb. [laughs] The more time [shirtless], the more money the movie made. That’s not at all why we went after him, but we knew the propensity he had to get naked. [laughs] It’s awesome. I’ve never met the guy and I’ve always wanted to meet him. He’s been one of my favorite actors and I think a very underrated actor. I think he has a bit of a bad rap because of that, because he’s a great looking guy.
He’s also a good actor.
Tatum: A fantastic actor! If anything, I would put him up there with…I got a chance to work with Al Pacino. He commits. McConaughey, when he goes in, he’s in. He’s one of the most committed actors to his character, to the story, he really is concerned about what this is doing for the whole picture, not just, “I can’t do this to my character,” and that type of thing. That’s always a good sign for me, personally, of a good and seasoned actor. I’m learning, I’m just learning. I haven’t been doing this forever and I didn’t get any formal training. This whole thing has been acting and film school for me. But, I wanted McConaughey because I’ve always seen him in my head as kind of a Mad Hatter. He’s a bit of a carnie. He lives in a trailer and plays the bongos and I wanted all of that craziness. I wanted to create a character for him that he can really foster some of those eccentricities that he has and just go for it. What I wrote was bizarre and where he took it was so much farther and better than I could have even made. And it’s all grounded. The first time you see him, you’ll be like, “Oh my God, what is this going to be?” But by the end of the movie, there’s not a question in your mind that you don’t believe he is [an] utterly believable and real person.[x]