Magic Mike first gyrated its way onto our screens back in 2012 – the brainchild of star Channing Tatum, drawing on his real-life experience working as a dancer in his youth, and director Steven Soderbergh. After bowing out of directing duties for sequel Magic Mike XXLSoderbergh is back on board for the pair’s final boogie, Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Returning to the franchise for this third installment, charting the inception of a Magic Mike stage show, Soderbergh’s priority was focusing on the thing that started it all: the dancing.
“We wanted to blow the dancing up in a big way,” the director tells Empire, promising an epic blowout sequence to wrap up Magic Mike’s trilogy. “We have this dance number with Channing and Salma [Hayek] right up front. And then the last 30-plus minutes of the movie are just this giant dance sequence.” It’s a finale that posed all kinds of challenges for the legendary filmmaker. “My job is, how do I make each one of these distinct? I can’t shoot them all the same way, I have to come up with a different approach for each dance. And that was really the challenge.” Thankfully, a South London theater had plenty of tricks up its tear-off sleeves. “We’re staging all the sequences in this lovely old theatre, the Clapham Grand,” Soderbergh explains. “That was fun, there’s not a bad angle to be had in that place…”
As well as the dance numbers increasing in scale, Last Dance also sees Mike in a committed partnership for the first time, with Salma Hayek’s Max – a key dynamic for the threequel. “The first film was a fairly straightforward rendering of a set of characters who exist in a certain milieu that hasn’t changed since its inception. And the second film was pushing out a little bit to talk about what women are looking for on a night out in which fantasies and sexuality are explored – and how do you retain a sense of mystery, while still existing in an environment in which things like permission and consent are front and center?” Soderbergh explains. “The third film just really dives into this in a much bigger way, partially because for the first time we see Mike in a relationship. So that just allows for a dynamic and a set of discussions that we haven’t had access to, prior to Magic Mike’s Last Dance.” If it has to be Mike’s last dance, at least it’s set to be a half-hour-long one.
Read more from Empire‘s Magic Mike’s Last Dance story, speaking to director Steven Soderbergh, in the new Indiana Jones 5 issue of Empire – on sale November 23, or pre-order a copy now. Magic Mike’s Last Dance is in cinemas from 10 February 2023.