Steven Soderbergh decided he had to make a third Magic Mike movie when he saw Magic Mike Live in London. Blown away, he was captivated by the idea of making a fictionalized version of how Mike came up with the live show. On the one hand, the film would be Soderbergh’s 42nd Street, a backstage musical that delves into the mechanics of putting on a show. On the other, it would allow him to train the spotlights on some fascinating themes.
"It was clear that a movie about this process was going to be a wonderful Trojan horse to discuss or expand on some ideas that were nascent in the other two films,” Soderbergh tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Oppenheimer on the cover.
"Primarily, what is desire? What is sexy? What is fantasy? What is the role of fantasy in someone’s life? It was a really great opportunity to talk about some relationship stuff regarding sexuality that the movies have been gradually moving towards. And so I really pitched it as a twofer. I said, 'We get to do this forensic study of how to put on a dance show, and we get to really do a deep-dive on these other ideas that we’ve been trying to build on in each of the two films.'"
Channing Tatum, who’d mined his own experiences as a stripper to bring the eponymous dancer to the screen, had previously said two movies were enough. But so strong was Soderbergh’s idea that he immediately agreed to put on the rip-off trousers once more (before, no doubt, tearing them off again to a roomful of lusty whoops). The story would see Mike’s girlfriend (Salma Hayek) persuade him to quit bartending and go back to the thing he was put on god’s green earth to do. And so he travels to London to orchestrate an eye-widening, heart-pounding, groin-tingling show in a famous old theatre that’s never seen the like.
For more, pick up a copy of Total Film’s 2023 Preview issue, fronted by Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. You order here, and the magazine will be available in shops and on digital newsstands from Thursday, December 15. And the print version of this new issue comes with a special 52-page supplement counting down the best films, must-see moments, and breakout stars of 2022.
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