Tatum turns up the heat

Magic Mike XXL star Channing Tatum is giving women what they want.

The beefed-up sequel to 2012's comedy-drama Magic Mike, which gave the world a glimpse into the 35-year-old US actor's past life as a stripper, also features eye candies Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello.

At the film's press junket at The London West Hollywood, Tatum, who is one of its producers, was eager to explain why women will once again fall in love with the characters they first met on the big screen three years ago.

Apart from McConaughey and Pettyfer, the boys are back to turn up the heat and take their show on the road, all the way to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

At the end of the first film, Mike (Tatum) left the business and was trying to find his own path in the world.

The first scenes of Magic Mike XXL, which opens here on July 9, show him in "all work and no play" mode, until he gets a call from his old pals and his life gets crazy again.

The sequel once again takes inspiration from Tatum's own experiences from his early days as a male stripper, in terms of the odyssey to the big stripper convention, which was supposed to be included in the first film. "We didn't ride up in a food truck like in the movie," Tatum told M.

"One of the strippers had a mobile detailing company and we used an old U-Haul van he had. It's so ridiculous now that I think back on it."

Reminiscing about that time of his life is pure comedy for Tatum, who is not ashamed of his past.

"I think it was a really interesting time in my life, where I met a lot of crazy characters and I really love telling people these stories," he said.

"I wanted to tell people a lot sooner that I was a stripper, but my publicist was like, 'Hell, no! You're not telling people.'

"So when it finally came out, I was, like, 'Yes! We can finally talk about it.'"

As for Magic Mike XXL, Tatum took a lot of what fans said on message boards and incorporated their recommendations, saying that the main thing women wanted from the sequel was "less story and more dancing".

So where the original flick explored Mike's realisation that his time on stage was coming to an end, the follow-up is more about the bond the guys have with one another and their enthusiasm to please women.

"The idea with Magic Mike XXL was to have them discover for themselves what's hot, fun and sexy," said Tatum.

"A huge part of that is by asking women what they want instead of telling them it's a cowboy in bum-less chaps."

So instead of the same police, fireman and navy guy routines, the ladies are treated to diverse big productions that really detail what each character is about. SEXY And of course, Tatum rounds it all off with another memorable performance to US R&B singer Ginuwine's sexy single Pony, that tops anything he's done.

So open is he that the father of one, who is married to actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum, will not be censoring any of it for his two-year-old daughter Everly, saying that it is inevitable that she will someday see his raw stripper movies when she comes of age.

"You can't change the fact that I was a stripper and, hopefully, she grows up knowing it was what it was," he said.

"And by the time she is old enough, they'll be holograms and she'll be able to see me in all my glory."

Tatum gave a hearty laugh before joking about how he's setting aside some money for therapy.

This article was first published on July 1, 2015.
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