Magic Mike's Steven Soderbergh Responds To Rumors About Thandiwe Newton's Last Dance Exit

Thandiwe Newton was going to be in Magic Mike's Last Dance
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

As Magic Mike’s Last Dance becomes the hottest new 2023 movie release to hit theaters this weekend, Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek bring all the spice this time around to the stripper franchise. However, back when the production was initially announced, Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton was initially set to star alongside Tatum rather than Hayek. When the actress exited the movie, all kinds of rumors surfaced as to why. Now Magic Mike director Steven Soderbergh has responded to these claims. 

When Newton exited Magic Mike’s Last Dance, Warner Bros. reported she made the “difficult decision” to step down to deal with “family matters,” but other rumors suggested there was more to it. Among the rumors, sources claimed that Newton was “acting strange” on the movie’s set and had to leave the project to go to rehab, while another claimed she clashed with Tatum on set over Will Smith infamous Oscars slap. Here’s how Steven Soderbergh responded to the rumors:  

[Laughs] Nothing I ever saw was accurate, and there’s really no upside for anybody involved in litigating this or excavating it, because I consider it private. Everything I saw publicly was wrong. It was just… I don’t think anybody sees any benefit in running through this publicly. It becomes something you can’t control. Right now, to keep it private means all of us can control it, and I think that’s where it should sit for the time being.

In other words, Steven Soderbergh has chosen not to entertain the rumors about Thandiwe Newton and keep the whole thing private. Though, in his words to Rolling Stone, he did hint at these stories perhaps all being inaccurate. Plus, as he points out, at the end of the day, what was going on with Newton was a personal matter that should remain private.

Magic Mike's Last Dance

Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek in Magic Mike's Last Dance.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Release Date: February 10, 2023 (Theaters)
Directed By:
 Steven Soderbergh
Written By: Reid Carolin
Starring: Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek, Ayub Khan Din, Jemelia George, Juliette Motamed, Vicki Pepperdine, Gavin Spokes, Caitlin Gerard and Christopher Bencomo

There’s certainly no bad blood between Newton and her replacement. Following the actress’ April 2022 exit, Thandiwe Newton took to Instagram to clear that up by raving about Salma Hayek’s performance in Beatriz at Dinner, which came out back in 2017. Newton shared to her story (via People) that there was “no finer performance, no finer film.” 

Salma Hayek stars in Magic Mike’s Last Dance as Maxandra Mendoza, a wealthy socialite, who meets Channing Tatum’s Mike after learning her husband is cheating on her. Maxandra commissions him for a private dance and their relationship gains steam there before she asks Mike to direct a show she can invest in. 

Magic Mike’s Last Dance follows Steven Soderbergh directing the 2012 original Magic Mike, along with classic films like Ocean’s Eleven, Out Of Sight and Erin Brockovich. Like the previous Magic Mike films, this one is spicy enough to be rated-R, but Soderbergh recently shared that he cares more about what’s “sexy” than sex itself in the movie. You can check out Tatum and Hayek in Magic Mike in theaters starting this Friday. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.