Steven Soderbergh on why a third Magic Mike movie was so "unexpected"

Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek in Magic Mike's Last Dance
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Magic Mike returns for one last thrust. Steven Soderbergh's series comes to a conclusion with the aptly named Magic Mike's Last Dance, and the director tells Total Film all about the upcoming trilogy topper in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Luther: The Fallen Sun on the cover. Here's a snippet of what the filmmaker had to say:

"A third Magic Mike movie was kind of unexpected. We were a couple of years into working on a stage version of the show – a more traditional Broadway version – and that was all going on while Chan and Reid [Carolin, screenwriter] and the choreographic team were also developing the live show. I’d seen some very early schematic workshops of the live show, and thought it was intriguing. But I really wasn’t prepared, 18 months later, for what I saw in London, which was the finished version. And I was so captivated by it that I got on the phone, and said, 'I think we should abandon the Broadway idea, and I would like to make a movie that is a fictionalized version of how Mike comes up with the idea for the live show.'

"The basic premise of the movie is that Salma Hayek Pinault’s character offers Mike an opportunity to put on a show in London. So it’s another in a series of what I would call ‘process films’, where, like an Ocean’s movie, it’s an exploded view of somebody trying to solve a problem. In this case, it was a really fun mash-up of things that I like – one of them being: showing people solving problems, the other being: people dancing!

Steven Soderbergh

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

"When it came to staging those sequences, it was a very, very tight schedule. I was watching a lot of musicals as we were going, just to refresh my memory, and pick up ideas. But typically for some of these sequences, there was very little time, and I would have to really just operate on instinct and almost treat it like a sport. But I had all the support I needed, and all these fantastic dancers, so it wasn’t stressful, it was just super-fast. 

"I like the energy and the momentum to come from knowing you have a certain amount of time to accomplish something. You just can’t think vertically all day, every day. You have to think laterally, and be creative, and be efficient: 'Alright, we’ve got three hours from beginning to end to do this whole thing.' It gets everybody on a state of high alert. And I like that part of it. There’s nothing that I look back on and go, 'Oh, I wish we had a lot more time to do that.' We left it all on the field."

For much more from Soderbergh, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film (opens in new tab) when it his newsstands (real and digital) on Thursday, January 12. As well as Magic Mike's Last Dance, the new issue features pieces on Luther: The Fallen Sun, Cocaine Bear, Knock at the Cabin, The Fabelmans, and much more.

Check out the covers below:

Total Film's Luther: The Fallen Sun covers

(Image credit: Netflix/Total Film)
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Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.