Channing Tatum surprised a number of people when he and director Steven Soderbergh teamed on Magic Mike, a film loosely inspired by Tatum’s own experiences working as a stripper before he became a professional actor. The movie was a box office success ($167 million worldwide against a $7 million budget) as well as a critical success, and Tatum likewise earned praise for his emotionally-nuanced performance – in addtion to his looks and dance moves, of course.
Now a sequel, which is officially titled Magic Mike XXL, has entered production for a theatrical release next summer. Principal photography on the project is now fully underway, as Tatum announced on Twitter earlier today, with Soderbergh serving as an executive producer – in addition to being the film’s director of photography and editor – and Soderbergh’s longtime first assistant director, Gregory Jacobs, set as the primary helmsman.
The narrative for the Magic Mike sequel was a recent Screen Rant Underground Podcast discussion topic – and it would seem that our editors’ guesses on the subject weren’t so far off-base, going by the official synopsis (see below).
Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, “Magic Mike XXL” finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.
Warner Bros.’ press release, marking the start of production on the Magic Mike sequel, reveals that the list of cast newcomers includes such folk as Elizabeth Banks (the Hunger Games series) and Donald Glover (Community), along with the co-host of Live with Kelly and Michael, Michael Stahan. (For those who’re interested, here’s Strahan confirming his Magic Mike XXL role on his own show.) For our money, we’re just hoping Glover’s playing a stripper whose stage identity is “Sexy Dracula.”
Other Magic Mike XXL cast member include the previously-reportedly trio of Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham), Amber Heard (Drive Angry), and Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove). However, Matthew McConaughey won’t be reprising his role as strip club owner Dallas in the Magic Mike sequel, nor (going by the official cast list) will Cody Horn and Alex Pettyfer be back as Brooke – Mike’s girlfriend, by the end of the first movie – and her brother (and Mike’s protege), Adam “The Kid”, respectively.
In truth, though, the latter trio’s exclusion from the Magic Mike followup makes sense enough. After all, Dallas and Mike had gone their separate ways at the point where the first movie concluded; “The Kid” had taken the spot vacated by Mike; and it doesn’t require a huge stretch to buy that Brooke and Mike might no longer be together, three years after the fact.
Magic Mike XXL will instead focus on the veteran strippers – played by Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, and Adam Rodriguez – who have the most emotional baggage, and thus make the most sense to be the focus of the movie’s story. (Read: a slice of life dramedy about “shaking off the past” and characters enjoying that “one last hurrah” before they move on to the next stage of their lives.)
Combine the intriguing premise with the talented cast and crew (including returning screenwriter Reid Carolin), and there does seem to be potential for this sequel to be quite the unforgettable road trip adventure. And mind you, that’s before Mike and his fellow strippers arrive at their final destination – a show that will take inspiration from Tatum’s real-life time participating in the madness embodied by stripper conventions, at that.
Magic Mike XXL opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015.