LOS ANGELES—Will Channing Tatum star in the Broadway version he is planning of “Magic Mike?”
“I hope,” he replied to our question in a recent interview. He quickly added, “Or I hope that … at least (Matt) Bomer (will be in it). He has one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard. He sings like an R&B artist; it’s incredible. I don’t know if anyone else in the movie cast can actually sing. We want it (the stage production) to be a musical.”
“I don’t sing,” clarified the actor, head shaved for his coming film, “Foxcatcher.” “I probably could if I really tried, but I am not a singer. I can’t sing like Bomer. He is a trained singer.”
With the killer smile that he flashes in 2012’s surprise hit movie based on his true-life experience as a stripper at age 18, Channing said: “I would like to try [singing] at some point, once the show gets on its feet. I need time to prepare for that; I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot. But we really want it to be a fun show. We want it to be an interactive thing, like a night-out of fun. It probably won’t go as heavy as some of the themes in the movie—we’ll try to make it a little bit crazier, more fun.”
Whether he’s in it or not, Channing assured “Magic Mike” fans that the Broadway version is definitely happening. “I can’t quite say yet who’s going to do it. We’re still trying to figure it all out, talking to a team of Broadway directors, choreographers, writers and musicians. But,” he insisted, “we are going to do it.”
Neither could Channing say what specific year the titular character and his fellow strippers would start disrobing on Broadway. “Whenever we can get it going, man,” he told us. “I don’t know a lot about stage so we’re going to ask other people to do it. I don’t have a timeline— I’ve never done anything in that field to know what a timeline for this would look like. We’re hoping, fingers crossed, in the next two years.”
He continued, “As you know, getting a play going takes about that long. But we’re absolutely going to do it. It’s too much fun not to.”
Steven Soderbergh, who directed “Magic Mike” and steered the film from being just a bachelorette party romp to a film with well-drawn characters and performances (led by Matthew McConaughey as the strip club owner), has announced plans to retire as a filmmaker. We will miss Steven in the cinema—we hope it turns out to be only a sabbatical. “Side Effects,” the thriller which coincidentally stars Channing, is Steven’s final theatrical release; “Behind the Candelabra,” the Liberace biopic that features Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, is his last TV-movie as a director.
With a chuckle, Channing cracked, “I’m going to try to sucker Steven into [making] one more [‘Magic Mike’].” But he announced that whoever might end up directing the film’s sequel, Steven—whose directing credits include “Erin Brockovich,” “sex, lies, and videotape,” “Traffic” and several “Ocean’s” films— is in as the producer.
“It might take a while but he’s definitely going to produce ‘Magic Mike 2,’ if it happens,” Channing confirmed. “He’s telling me that I should direct it with Reid (Carolin, Channing’s writing/producing partner). I was like, ‘No, I am not going to direct my first movie after you. I’m not going to change the style (of ‘Magic Mike’) that much.’ I told him, if he’d come and DP (director of photography) it, then I would.”
His own take
Breaking into a laugh now, Channing, quipped, “But I may not have to because if he DPs it, he’s going to direct it! If I can get him in the room, he’ll be like, ‘Ah, screw it, I’m already here. Let’s just do it.’ I think he’s done [directing], though. He wants to explore painting, producing, stuff like that.”
Asked for his own take on why Steven is walking away from the director’s chair, Channing opined, “I don’t really believe Steven is disillusioned with the movie business. I think it’s his frustration with the type of movies that he wants to make. He’s like, ‘I’ve made almost every movie that I can think of.’ I dropped in front of him a crazy little subculture movie about stripping. He was like, ‘That would make a great movie.’ He’s just that simple. He’s like, ‘I haven’t seen that. Let’s do it.’ When he does something, he puts his heart into it.”
“I think he’s not getting out because of the business side,” remarked Channing, whose other coming films include “White House Down” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” “Steven is a smart businessman. I think he’s just a little tired of going in a van on location scouts. He’s like, ‘I’m done with that. I’m a little over it.’ If he’s tired of telling stories, I think he should take a break.”
“Side Effects,” a crime drama about how a woman’s turning to prescription drugs to alleviate her anxiety results in unexpected consequences, also features Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rooney Mara.
Channing, who plays a newly released felon, said his dancing background was his “crutch” when he began getting acting roles. He confessed, laughing again: “Body movement was probably my first crutch in acting when I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I used my body a lot more to feel comfortable. I didn’t really feel comfortable being still in acting. I remember when I auditioned for Kenneth Branagh. He noticed immediately that I was really comfortable when I was moving around.”
Why he went
“He brought over a chair and set it down. He was like, ‘I don’t want you to move. Now, let’s do the scene.’ It threw me off completely. You realize what your crutches are. That’s why I went to audition for Branagh because I knew I was going to come out of that room a better actor.”
The father-to-be (he and his wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum are expecting their first child later this year) said, “Dancing gives you a real sensibility of your body. There’s a definite choreography to a scene. There’s a bit of a melodic movement to it, sometimes even if you are still. Dancing has been a huge help to me.”
(E-mail the columnist at email@example.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.)