Now that Magic Mike is poised to become a pop culture phenomenon, with producers allegedly planning a Broadway version as well as a potential blitz of merchandising (action figures anyone?), the male exotic dancing industry is reacting.
Two former colleagues, from Channing Statum's no longer secret past as an exotic dancer, are stepping up to reclaim some of the spotlight enjoyed by Tatum, Joe Manganiello and Matthew McConaughey among others.
The real-like "Magic Mikes," Thomas “Awesome” Austin and London Steele, who allegedly danced with Channing Tatum when he was a stripper in Florida, accused the stripper-turned-Hollywood actor of stealing not only the movie routine’s trademark moves but also the name of the movie itself.
Watch Channing Tatum's no longer secret stripper past:
Based on Tatum’s own past as an exotic dancer, Magic Mike’s increasing popularity is prompting the actor's former colleagues to step up and reclaim what they consider is theirs, claiming most of the movie's dancing routines and even the name itself are borrowed from their own experiences as opposed to Tatum's. "He only danced for four about months," they argue.
Tatum is not holding back. "Those guys have been trying to make money off of me since I got into this business," he told reporters. "Look, there's nothing that's factual in this whole movie other than that I was an 18-year-old kid and went into this world and I dropped out of college from playing football and was living on my sister's couch. There's not one character that I took from my real life; this is just a world that I went into, and I had a perspective on. And we created everything from a fictional place."
But Tatum was careful not to antagonize too much his former colleagues (God forbid a lawsuit). "I don't want to say anything bad about them because they're part of the reason why I think this world is so interesting (…) they’re intriguing and bizarre characters, and I'm thankful for weird people out there. They're some of the most creative people."