What Matthew McConaughey Learned About Strip Clubs While Prepping For Magic Mike With Channing Tatum

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

It’s been almost a decade since Magic Mike was released, leaving women everywhere hot and bothered. Even though it’s been a minute since we’ve seen Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum dancing nearly naked on a stage, they’re still with us in spirit in the form of TikTok challenges and Halloween costumes. It’s hard to believe that the stars of Magic Mike weren’t naturals when it came to the world of male stripping, but like with any role, the actors had a lot of research to do to prepare for their roles. In fact, McConaughey and Tatum spent some time in strip clubs and they learned a good bit about the industry in the process.

Matthew McConaughey has played a wide range of roles, and he's known for doing so successfully. One factor that may go into his ability to play all different types of people is that he prepares by doing background on them, sometimes even transforming his body drastically. For Magic Mike, he and his co-star Channing Tatum took to male strip clubs to get what he calls his “light bulb moments” before becoming a new character. In his own words:

There are many lightbulb moments in finding a character for me. I hope to have found those lightbulb truths in that character before it’s time to start actually shooting… One, I see how corny this world is, for Magic Mike. Two, I noticed that as Channing [Tatum] and I noticed these men coming up and talking to us are like lawyers and bankers and accountants. And they’re very formal. And you look at them kind of going, some of them are even kind of nerdy! And 30 minutes later they’re on stage and they’re the dancers! You’re like going, ‘Wait, the nerdy guy that wasn’t even dressed cool or nothing is now that guy up there working?’ This sort of corny world that there was so little precious about it.

Could you imagine going in to work at your local strip club, and Matthew McConaughey just happens to come in with Channing Tatum? Then, a year or so later you see them in Magic Mike emulating you and your fellow dancers. That’s a career high right there.

Matthew McConaughey may have found the male strip clubs to be corny and to him, undesirable. If that was the case in real life, there would seem to be a disconnect to the on screen version because those who watched the film were left with a very different impression. This differentiation may be, at least in part, due to McConaughey’s ability to input new ideas when he’s doing background work on characters. In the same interview with In Depth with Graham Bensinger, McConaughey describes what he would do if he were really in the shoes of his character Dallas in Magic Mike. Here it is in his own words:

Then I noticed that night that in the role I was playing, Dallas, I was the owner of the club. I was going, ‘You know, if I ran this joint, I would have someone at the door marking what kind of car every woman pulled up in. I’d want to know if they are pulling up in a Mercedes or a Subaru.’ … because where we make the big bucks is the solo dances later.

If you’re going to be a stripper, working for someone like Matthew McConaughey wouldn’t be half bad. The man sure seems like he’d look after his dancers. At least according to his observations about the industry.

Matthew McConaughey's latest projects include a bunch of voice acting, including a role in the animated series Hank the Cowdog, as well as reprising his role as Buster Moon in Sing 2. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.