Film buffs are well aware that next summer is chock-full of major sequels featuring superheroes (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), dinosaurs (Jurassic World), and homicidal cyborgs (Terminator: Genysis). However, a blossoming franchise will be joining those ranks: Magic Mike 2 – which will be titled Magic Mike XXL – the followup to Steven Soderbergh’s critically-acclaimed box office hit from 2012. It’s currently in production and is being prepped for a July 2015 debut.
Soderbergh’s longtime assistant director Gregory Jacobs will call the shots this time around, with his mentor serving as cinematographer and editor. Jacobs chatted with The Playlist, where he offered some details on how this installment will differentiate itself from the first in the series.
Whenever a sequel to what is seemingly a standalone film is green-lit, viewers typically raise some eyebrows, as these types of projects are usually approved in the name of more studio profits rather than artistic storytelling. In some cases, those fears are justified (hello, Hangover 2), but Jacobs claims that Magic Mike XXL won’t be one of them.
Read his quote:
“It’s road trip movie, and put it this way – it’s different enough that once you see it, you’ll understand why we made a sequel. No one will be accusing us of making the same movie twice.”
We’ve known for a while that Magic Mike 2 was going to be a road trip comedy based on star Channing Tatum’s real-life experiences participating at stripper conventions.
This angle was something he wanted to include in the first film, before Soderbergh convinced Tatum that it was substantial enough to carry its own film. That alone should be comforting for fans, as the plot has long had the stamp of approval of two people heavily involved in the creative process of the original.
Given that Magic Mike had a lot of ground to cover by exploring the harsh realities and complexities of this particular lifestyle, it’s probably best that the convention material was saved for later. The tight narrative of the first movie was an element that drew a lot of praise (read our review), so hopefully lightning can strike twice and the correct decision was made to make the best film possible. The enthusiasm Soderbergh and Tatum have displayed for the road trip story is a promising sign that audiences won’t be disappointed.
One of the highlights in the first Magic Mike film was Matthew McConaughey, who played Dallas. While the original plan was to bring back the entire main cast (including the recent Oscar winner), that unfortunately won’t be the case. In his interview with Playlist, Jacobs confirmed that McConaughey won’t be back for the sequel.
There was no reasoning given, but the most likely explanation is that the character wouldn’t fit in the overall narrative. Mike (Tatum) and Dallas weren’t exactly on the best of terms when Magic Mike ended, so Dallas’ inclusion conceivably wouldn’t gel with the comedic road trip vibe that the crew is striving for. Those are better to have with a group of your best buddies.
The real world cause for McConaughey not returning could be chalked up to scheduling issues. The actor is currently filming Gus Van Sant’s new drama, The Sea of Trees, which is also being prepped for a 2015 release. Since both projects are rolling as we speak, it would make it hard for McConaughey to work on both at once, leading to him not appearing in Magic Mike XXL.
Even without one of its best supporting characters back in the fold, this sequel has a lot of potential to deliver some rollicking entertainment next July.
The road trip elements should keep things fresh enough to please audiences, and the team is committed to making the second go-around just as big (if not more) than the first time. Tatum – who dives into autobiographical territory in these films – is clearly passionate about doing the subject matter justice, which convinces us that we have yet another big movie to look forward to in summer 2015.
Magic Mike XXL will be in theaters July 1, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.