Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
When the announcement came that “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the third movie in Channing Tatum’s male stripper franchise, had the greenlight, it was revealed the film would premiere directly on HBO Max. However, director Steven Soderbergh says a theatrical run is still on the table. “We’re talking about it,” Soderbergh told me recently while promoting the “Magic Mike Live” tour, which makes its North American debut in Miami in October. “It’s certainly hard to argue that this isn’t a movie that’s best seen in a theater, because we have the data. People, primarily women, were going in packs, in large groups, to see the ‘Magic Mike’ movies.”
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Soderbergh returns as director after helming the first “M.M.” (the second was directed by Gregory Jacobs). “That’s the discussion with Warners right now — can we eventize this? And if so, should we put it out theatrically?” Soderbergh explains.
While details of the new film’s storyline are being kept under wraps, Soderbergh did tease that the movie is inspired by the “Magic Mike” stage show. “The movie is sort of a fictionalized procedural on how Mike comes up with the idea of a show — and then the obstacles, of which there are many, to trying to realize his vision of what this new thing could be.”
He continued, “It’s a variation on ‘All That Jazz.’”
The film hit a patch of controversy when Thandiwe Newton was replaced by Salma Hayek after shooting began. “I hadn’t seen Salma in 22 years after she did a little bit part in ‘Traffic,’” Soderbergh says. “She just brings so much to the table. Anybody that spent any amount of time with Salma will see that there is so much of Salma in the movie.”
Soderbergh also says that the Broadway musical adaptation of “Magic Mike” is no longer moving forward and “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” is likely the final film in the series. However, “I think there are other things to be done within what I consider now to be a larger ‘Magic Mike’ universe.”
“There are stories that can be told that have the same sort of ethos and are tackling the same subjects that still involve dance but don’t have Mike Lane in them,” Soderbergh says.
The “Magic Mike Live” tour will kick off a six-month run at the Miami Marine Stadium site on Key Biscayne on Oct. 13. Soderbergh was in Miami recently to offer a sneak peek at the show along with curated cocktails from his spirit brand Singani 63. “When we made the first film or when Singani 63 first hit the market, I never would have imagined a fusion of these two pieces of branding that I had a hand in,” Soderbergh says. “But it makes total sense. They’re similar in a lot of ways. They’re both designed to give you pleasure through a high-level product. It’s a joy that comes from excellence.”
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Patrick Schwarzenegger put on about 20 pounds of muscle for his work as a Navy SEAL in “The Terminal List.” “I was eating nonstop,” he tells me. “It was fun. I had to fill out the uniform and not look like a little shrimp.” But then he needed to look out of shape for much of “The Staircase” as his character battles alcohol and drug abuse. “He got really heavy,” the actor says. “I had to wear a four-month pregnancy belly. It was weird.”
Jaimie Alexander thinks it’s time for a Lady Sif series. Alexander, who plays the Asgardian warrior in the MCU, wants fan input to get it going. “Listen up, guys — if you want to see a Lady Sif series, start pitching your ideas and we’ll put something together and make it happen,” she says. “It would be so much fun continuing this.”
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SIGHTINGS: Audi hosting a dinner designed by Noma’s René Redzepi at Rolling Greens in downtown Los Angeles. Enjoying the seven-course meal, which included lemon-tasting ants on mango—were Ariana DeBose, Lupita Nyong’o and producer Sal Masekela, Marisa Tomei, James Marsden, Jurnee Smollett, stylist Elizabeth Stewart, Logan Lerman and Ana Corrigan, Chiara Bernasconi, photographer Cam Hicks, Noma CEO Peter Kreiner and Audi’s Tara Rush and Emilie Cotter…Shawn Mendes, who recently postponed the start of his tour to concentrate on his mental health, working out at Equinox in West Hollywood… Spike Lee, Darren Star, Natasha Lyonne and Jemima Kirke at Gucci and the Saltzman family’s second annual summer celebration in East Hampton…”Queer As Folk” and “Hacks” star Johnny Sibilly picking up a protein shake at Weho’s Body Energy Club.
Congrats to producer Dick Atkins. His production company A-Films has secured the life rights of Tiffany Davis, the first transgender woman to be officially recognized by the Army as a military spouse in the 1990s. Atkins is joined by producing associates George Gallo and Jeb Brien in developing a limited series about Davis.
Elsa Pataky is ready to start filming the sequel to “Interceptor.” The over-the-top action thriller — Pataky plays a U.S. Army captain who has to prevent a nuclear missile attack planned by domestic terrorists — was a surprise hit for Netflix; the movie jumped to No. 1 on its top 10 list shortly after it was released in June. “Hopefully soon!” Pataky tells me. “Can we push for it?” Writer-director Matthew Reilly previously revealed to me that he has already written the second film for what he hopes will be a franchise.
END NOTE: Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas are now in the fashion business together. Could an acting project be next? Read my recent interview with Chopra Jonas here.
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