Magic Mike, the upcoming film about male strippers that hits theaters in the US on June 29, is based in the real-life experiences of star Channing Tatum who worked at a strip club in Tampa, Florida, when he was 19.
The film's first trailer, released a few weeks ago, focuses on the budding romantic relationship between Tatum's stripper character and a disapproving love interest played by Cody Horn.
So why would gay males want to flock to watch a heterosexual romance?
The beefcake of course!
The film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer and Joe Manganiello as strippers and their wardrobe leaves little to the imagination.
'With Joe Manganiello naked in a movie, I think even straight guys are going to be, ‘Shit, I need to see that. That man is a specimen,’' Tatum tells OUT Magazine on which he is on the cover.
The film is being released in the middle of the crowded and ultra-competitive summer movie season when big-budget action flicks dominate at the box office and young males are the most sought after demographic.
'It’s risky,' concedes Tatum. 'People say that women and the gay community will go see it -- knock on wood -- but I know straight guys won’t be like, ‘Yo, what’s up man -- you wanna go see the stripping movie after the game tonight?’ I doubt they’ll have the balls to see it. What’s funny is that the girls don’t ask me questions about my stripping days, but straight guys want to know everything. It’s that fantasy element. It’s probably why a lot of females on Halloween are the whorey version of a ketchup bottle, or slutty nurse, which I love and respect -- it’s liberating.'
Tatum seemed to enjoy making the film more than he did his actual stripping days more than a decade ago.
'I never enjoyed the taking-the-clothes-off part,' he recalls. 'You are on a stage with people yelling at you, and you feel you’re a rock star, but you’re nothing -- you’re just a guy taking off his clothes, looking like a fool in a stupid outfit.'
Bomer, the openly gay star of TV's White Collar, has nothing but praise for his Magic Mike co-star: 'He’s obviously very good-looking and effortlessly cool, but he’s also one of the kindest, most open-hearted people I’ve ever known. More than anything, he just has a lust for life that makes him want to tell stories and to dig deeper than someone who looks like him might have to dig.'