Magic Mike: Strippers Characters
While giving audiences a window into Mike’s growing awareness, the film also puts them into the hot seat—front row center—as the Kings of Tampa storm the stage and Adam joins his newfound brothers-in-arms: six guys at the top of their game, representing a range of man-candy archetypes anyone will recognize, whether or not they’ve ever been to a strip club.
Joining Tatum and Pettyfer in the spotlight are Matt Bomer, starring as Ken, whose signature act is emerging from a toy box as every girl’s perfect Ken Doll come to life.
Joe Manganiello iss Big Dick Richie, known for an act requiring no props apart from what he was born with.
Kevin Nash as the wild man Tarzan, who swoops across the stage on a rope; and Adam Rodriguez as the suave Tito, who provides a Latin flavor to the show.
“All the guys were great and each one brought something specific. We wanted actors who could improv and be funny, not necessarily guys who could dance,” says Soderbergh. As it turned out, aside from Tatum, none of the new recruits had that kind of dance experience but were all natural athletes who could draw on either stunt training or musical theater backgrounds, while Nash, portraying the veteran of the group, has more than 20 years of professional wrestling to his credit. Even so, nothing could fully prepare them for that moment when the pants fly off.
Rodriguez, who packed an intensive cardio-and-weights regimen into his “CSI: Miami” schedule to prepare, confides with a laugh, “My first thought upon reading the script was that it sounded like a good time. I could relate to the humor and the camaraderie. My next thought was, ‘Damn, I’m out of shape. I have a lot of work to do!’”
“I knew if I took this part I’d have to go to places that weren’t comfortable, but it’s one of those jobs where you just have to check your inhibitions at the door and dive in,” Bomer says.
It helped that everyone else was in the same boat. Indeed, standing around in thongs and robes, discussing waxing and tanning techniques, was a great equalizer. As Soderbergh acknowledges, “There’s nothing like shared potential humiliation to bond people, and they bonded quickly. They all came in to watch one another do their solo routines and lend support and they were so generous with each other—no competitiveness, no egos. Watching them go through those routines in front of 150 female extras and the entire film crew was awesome. They all jumped off that cliff.”
Following each anxious debut, the actors found it got progressively easier until, as Manganiello notes, they actually started looking forward to the next opportunity. “Even after working on our routines for weeks, that first take is a shock. You’re concentrating on the choreography, trying to hit your marks, and then when it’s over you want to go right back out there again. The only thing I can compare it to is skydiving: as soon as it’s over you want to do it again because you realize you missed the first three seconds. And those women were going crazy. We’d go home at night still buzzing from the energy off that crowd.”
The extras, armed with stacks of singles and a mandate to go nuts, were invaluable in getting the actors pumped for their big numbers. Nash, who has performed to arena crowds, understands how vital that interaction can be. “With the whole group participation aspect of a show like this, I think there’s a collective chemistry that happens. There’s an instant adrenalin rush you get from a live audience.”
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