One-time Tampa resident Tatum enjoying a magical time
For those thinking "Magic Mike" is a Channing Tatum biopic, let the star and co-producer set the record straight — it's not. "Look, I'll just be really, really, honest; the only thing that is really me, the only factual truths, I was 18 when I went into this thing (stripping)," Tatum said in Miami last week. "I dropped out of college, I played football and I had a sister. "And the rest of it is completely made up." The Tampa Catholic High School graduate adds that "Magic Mike" is the name of an actual dancer, but this movie isn't about that guy either.What is "Magic Mike" about? It's the story of a 30-year old dancer (Tatum) who begins to realize that although he's having a blast entertaining riled-up ladies nightly in a Tampa strip club, there's a void he's not quite sure how to fill. The crux of whether it is his own fears, or simply the love of the party lifestyle, takes center stage. Tatum said he has toyed with the idea of detailing his stripper experiences on film. "I would have done a documentary … and maybe I will still," he said. "The guys that I did this with are some of the more interesting people I may have met in my entire life." The TV marketing campaign leads one to believe the R-rated film, which shot many scenes in the Tampa area, is going to be raunchy with very little substance, aka "Showgirls" (1995). And be assured, Tatum and his strapping co-stars, Alex Pettfyer, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer, show plenty of skin and some scenes are, well, very suggestive and steamy. But it's still classy. He credits director Steven Soderbergh ("Ocean's Eleven") for executing a balance between the fun and risque. "That's what Soderbergh sort of brings; he has a natural feel to all his movies. He's a real sculptor and a painter, so the movie has a kind of a lyrical feel to it," he says. "And I hope it shows Tampa in the best way that we could." Tatum says he wishes he could have shot the entire film in Tampa and "really blow it out," but when you're paying out of pocket, the production budget dictates where you go. "It's a small movie, man. I don't think people know that Soderbergh and I financed it ourselves." In the past two years, the actor/producer has been on the go, with "Magic Mike" being the last of three movies he's starred in this year ("The Vow," "21 Jump Street"). "After this next year-and-a-half of acting I'm probably going to take a break, and Reid Carolin, the writer of 'Magic Mike,' we're probably going to start writing something that we will direct," he said. "I've been pretty much working for the last four years non-stop, with about no time in between; which is awesome, because I love working. "I've had to do a lot of my learning on the job, and I hope I'm getting better with each movie. And you know, I'm pretty stacked up until the end of next year, and it's exciting, but I'm more excited to just chill and start a family." But for now, Tatum hopes audiences enjoy this spicy slice of life. "Hopefully you'll enjoy the first half, and in the second half, you'll understand there's a price to keep the party going."