Channing Tatum bares all for ‘Magic Mike'

Channing Tatum (center) with fellow strippers Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, and Matt Bomer. Associated Press
Channing Tatum (center) with fellow strippers Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, and Matt Bomer. Associated Press
Posted: June 29, 2012

I FIGURE I'm going to keep my clothes on for the next few movies,” said Channing Tatum.

And his fans around the world collectively weep.

Tatum is the star of "Magic Mike," a/k/a the male stripper movie. Directed by auteur Steven Soderbergh, "Magic Mike" is based on Tatum's experiences as a stripper before he got into acting. Set at a Tampa, Fla., male revue, the movie stars Tatum as the titular Mike who recruits The Kid ("I Am Number Four's" Alex Pettyfer) into the sweaty, gyrating fold. "Magic Mike" bumps and grinds into theaters today.

It's not that Tatum doesn't like showing off his considerable assets. He's used to nudity. "I'm not a very modest person anyway," he said. "I grew up in Florida and in Florida you're always running around naked or you're in a swim suit, which is basically underwear. You just kinda get used to being naked."

But this is the second movie this year — alongside the weepy romance "The Vow" — where Tatum's naked posterior plays a vital role. All butts aside, it's been a big year for the beefcake actor, scoring a big opening with "The Vow" and raking in more box office dollars with the R-rated comedy "21 Jump Street." Tatum was also slated to briefly appear in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," the sequel to the 2009 actioner, but the movie was pushed to 2013, reportedly to add more scenes of Tatum. (Tatum denies knowledge of what's going on, claiming that "G.I. Joe" producers haven't reached out to him, despite reshoot reports. "I have no clue why they pushed," he said.)

Just because Tatum's butt will not prominently play a role in Tatum's next outings doesn't mean he doesn't mind being a sex object. "Magic Mike" features a bevy of Hollywood hunks — "True Blood's" Joe Manganiello, "White Collar's" Matt Bomer and Matthew McConaughey (looking as if he's having way too much fun) — acting as the objectified party. It's not often that men are the meat in movies. Could "Magic Mike" be a feminist film, with its B-love story featuring a strong woman who doesn't initially fall for Tatum's physical charms? Tatum wouldn't go that far, but he's seen firsthand from his wife (and "Step Up" co-star Jenna Dewan) how women are treated in the industry. "I think it's about time. I think the girls deserve something like this," he said.

As an expert on the subject of male stripping, Tatum called out Manganiello, who plays the aptly named Big D--- Richie, as the one who could make it as a male stripper if the whole acting thing doesn't work out. Tatum called him a "perfect human specimen" and lamented a Manganiello scene left on the cutting-room floor.

Alas, only a few of the dances are shown in full. For good reason, said Tatum.

"Showing everyone's full dance sequence, it would make the movie about 2 1/2 hours long," he said.

So?

"What no one knows is that all the dances end the same. They all start with clothes on and end with clothes off. To keep that interesting is tough. By the fifth guy, you're like OK, I get it."

Contact Molly Eichel at 215-854-5909 or eichelm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @mollyeichel. Read her blog posts at www.philly.com/entertainment.

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