Let's get this straight right off the bat, Magic Mike is not based on events in Channing Tatum's life. However, it is inspired by the time he spent as a stripper when he was 18 and 19 years old. Says Tatum, "It was the atmosphere and energy of it I wanted to capture, and that feeling of being at a time in your life when you’re trying things out, and up for anything. You might have a plan for the future, but for now it’s about that next paycheck, that next party, and just having a good time." Tatum added, "None of the characters are based on real people, not even my own."
With his Haywire director Steven Soderbergh on board to helm the project, Tatum called upon his producing partner Reid Carolin to write the script. Magic Mike marks Carolin's first feature film screenwriting credit, and in our exclusive interview he talked about the world of male strippers and the film's tone.
Reid Carolin Interview
What are the major differences between male and female stripping?
Reid Carolin: "I think as it relates to the movie, one of the things I’m really fascinated with that we tried to do is look at the way - and this comes from being inspired by Channing’s feelings as he was a dancer - women are super objectified in movies typically speaking, in your typical Hollywood movies. That’s been the case forever, and I think more today than it was in the ‘70s and the ‘60s. Being treated as a sex object in a story, females are constantly deriving power from sexuality. I think that has to have a reciprocal effect on culture when you look at females watching these movies and going, 'Okay, these characters are deriving their power and self-worth from sexuality.' In this movie, it’s the exact opposite of course. The girls are smart and making good choices and the guys are deriving their power from sexuality and that’s why they have, Channing specifically has feelings, that he’s not fulfilled, because he’s looking around at himself and going, 'Well, if I’m not worthy to you as a sex object and you don’t even want to sleep with me, what am I? What do I have? Isn’t this supposed to be how this transition works?' So I think reversing that is fun because you just never see it."
Did you want to address the financial situation with Channing's character Mike at the bank?
Reid Carolin: "At some point, someone’s going to say to you, which is what happens to Mike, 'Look, man, this isn’t all fun. You’ve screwed up this person’s life. You’ve made a promise to this person you can’t keep. You can’t even pay your bills anymore. You can’t even pay for your house. You can’t even start your business. You’ve got to figure out how to do something that’s real.' To me, it’s a total metaphor for what happened with our economy is we just were on this joy ride and everyone was doing whatever it took to make money, going, 'It’s no problem!'"
Why did you avoid some of the darker elements of the stripper life?
Reid Carolin: "We didn’t want to make a romp and we didn’t want to make it Boogie Nights. There’s a balancing act that goes on and it’s a bummer to lose some of the things that you want to go in there, but that’s the process."
Why doesn’t Mike understand that people like Adam (played by Alex Pettyfer) and Joanna (played by Olivia Munn) aren’t reliable? He seems surprised when they don’t come through.
Reid Carolin: "I think Mike is in this 'let it be' kind of place, and then he develops a conscience through the movie because he doesn’t intuitively feel fulfilled and he doesn’t intuitively believe that Joanna or The Kid are these wonderful people that are going to constantly support him. But he didn’t want to ever deal with the fact that they were."
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Magic Mike hits theaters on June 29, 2012.