Magic Mike: From California to Florida
Production began in September 2011 in Playa del Ray, California, and wrapped in October in Tampa, Florida. The filmmakers combined locations from both states to create the story’s Tampa setting, established in a spectacular view of Tampa Bay from atop an oceanfront house where Mike and Adam first meet during a roofing job. Other Florida sites included restaurants in Ybor City, the Fort Desoto Bridge and a sandbar off the Dunedin coast, in the Gulf of Mexico. Southern California provided the sites for Mike’s condo, Dallas’ house and the club.
Throughout, Soderbergh employed a double straw camera filter, to create “a warm yellow-wash that feels like the sun,” he says. “We used it during the whole film except for the interior of the Xquisite, because I wanted the colors in there to pop.”
For Mike’s beach condo, production designer Howard Cummings selected a 1970s-style home in Playa del Rey on the verge of renovation—not for an overtly retro look, but for its distinctive features that might have appealed to Mike’s eye for structure and design.
Dallas’ place, befitting his personality, had a more sprawling and theatrical vibe. Deciding that Dallas was the type of guy who would have a dramatic picture of himself on display at his home, Cummings recounts, “I asked Matthew if he was up for posing for a portrait with a live python. He said… Well, I can’t repeat exactly what he said but he was enthusiastic. So we set it up.” Additionally, Cummings worked with the props department to cast a bust of the actor that graces the grand piano in Dallas’ living room.
“Howard’s biggest opportunity to shine was in the club,” says Soderbergh, for which the production secured a vacant club space in Studio City, California, that had a bar and kitchen but no stage. This enabled Cummings to design one from the ground up to accommodate the film’s developing choreography. For the performers’ dressing area, he focused on the kitchen.
“I wish I could take credit for suggesting the kitchen, but that idea was Steven’s,” says Cummings, who marks his fifth collaboration with the director. “It worked perfectly because the Kings of Tampa don’t have a lot of money and that lent an ad hoc quality to the set. The blocking is limited, but Steven takes that kind of limitation and makes a benefit out of it. He also likes reflective surfaces, and there was plenty of tile, a shiny ceiling and lots of stainless steel.”
Noting that Xquisite only exists a couple of nights a week, renting space in an existing business with its own daytime identity, the designer put up a flimsy plastic banner bearing the club’s name, which he calls “their cheap solution to signage. Overall, everything about the place had to be visually engaging and entertaining, but not too slick. I wanted it to have a real edge.”
In many ways the club is the focal point of Mike’s life—emotionally, socially, and financially—so the fact that it hasn’t quite hit the big time yet is telling. The temporary nature of its success, the transitory nature of its clientele and some of the relationships he has formed there represent a part of Mike’s life that may be nearing its expiration date.
Leave a Reply
- Box-Office, June 14-16, 2013
- Danny Kaye Centennial: Paramount iTunes Celebration
- Purge: Design and Location
- Purge: Casting the Thriller
- Purge: Making of Provocative Thriller
- Man of Steel: Fishburne, Harry Lennix
- Man of Steel: Cavill’s Physical Training
- Man of Steel: The Music
- Man of Steel: Costume Design
- Man of Steel: Creating Imaginary World
- Man of Steel: Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams
- Man of Steel: Henry Cavill as Superman