Channing Tatum, whose White House Down opens this evening in North America, may co-direct the sequel to his 2012 sleeper domestic hit Magic Mike. Unlike the original film, directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) and loosely based on Tatum's own experiences as a stripper, the star of The Vow and 21 Jump Street told The Hollywood Reporter that the aptly titled (at least for now) Magic Mike 2 "will be a road-trip movie, and it will essentially be the movie that everyone thought the first one was going to be: crazy and fun and less slice-of-life and less drama. The first one, we had to make not so cheesy and campy; this one we are going to swing for the fences." (Photo: Channing Tatum in a rare non-shirtless moment in Magic Mike.)
Channing Tatum adds that either he and producing partner Reid Carolin will co-direct the fence-swinging Magic Mike 2, or the job will go to frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Greg Jacobs, one of the producers of the original Magic Mike.
Steven Soderbergh: Magic Mike 2 cinematographer?
Curiously, although Steven Soderbergh has officially retired from directing movies, he apparently is still willing to work in some other capacity on a film set. In his THR interview, Channing Tatum explains that Soderbergh "said he would shoot it; he would DP it" — i.e., he'd be the Magic Mike 2 cinematographer.
"And there's another thing: Is that good?" Channing continues. "Because he is such an opinionated and talented man, if he wants to do a five-minute tracking shot through a forest, you don't want to doubt him. It would be like having sex with your girlfriend while her porn-star ex-boyfriend is in the room watching you."
Channing Tatum and 'hero' Genghis Khan
Now, much more interesting than anything about Magic Mike 2 is Channing Tatum's interest in Genghis Khan, one of his "heroes."
Sergey Bodrov, whose Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan was (somewhat strangely) nominated for the 2007 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, gave Tatum a book on the Central Asian conqueror whose hordes spread terror in much of central Asia and eastern Europe in the early 13th century.
Bodrov and Tatum, in fact, met to discuss Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, apparently as a possible vehicle for the American actor as "at that time, he hadn't decided he was going to use an Asian actor because Genghis Khan is rumored to have had freckles and green eyes and red hair because he was more from northern Mongolia. Back in the day, the Mongolians didn't have the dark features they have today." Be that as it may, Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano ended up playing Temudjin — later known as Genghis Khan.
But would Channing Tatum have been believable as Genghis Khan? Well, if Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance, and Gerard Butler can play Attila the Hun, why not Channing Tatum as an all-American central Asian conqueror? And let's not forget that in Henry Levin's Genghis Khan (1966), the title role went to an Egyptian: Omar Sharif.
According to the IMDb, another Genghis Khan is in the works, to come out in 2014. RZA is to be the film's director, from a screenplay by John Milius, whose credits range from the revered Apocalypse Now to the reviled Red Dawn (1984).
Now, is Channing Tatum's agent aware of the upcoming Genghis Khan movie?
Magic Mike cast
Besides Channing Tatum, the original Magic Mike cast includes Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, James Martin Kelly, Cody Horn, Avery Camp, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, and Gabriel Iglesias.
Channing Tatum in a rare non-shirtless moment in Magic Mike photo: Warner Bros.