Magic Mike | 2012
The amazingly unpredictable Steven Soderbergh directs this backstage story, inspired by Channing Tatum’s real-life experiences as an exotic dancer which, beneath its glistening pecs and glutes, has echoes of A Star Is Born and All About Eve.
It’s set around Tampa on the west coast of Florida, bathed in a relentlessly dazzling golden glow.
‘Club Xquisite’, where the ‘Kings of Tampa’ bump and grind under the strict eye of the cocky, confident Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), is a conflation of two separate locations hundreds of miles apart.
The exterior is Wilson's Bar, 3030 4th Street North, St Petersburg, on a peninsula a few miles southwest of Tampa.
But since so much of the film takes place inside the club, the interior was filmed much closer to the Hollywood studios, in nightclub Platinum Live, since closed, which stood at 11345 Ventura Boulevard, in Studio City, north of LA in the San Fernando Valley.
The undoubted star of the show is Mike (Tatum), the master of multi-tasking, whose ambition to set up his own custom-built furniture company he hopes to fund by stripping at night and roofing by day.
The grand mansion, on which he’s working when he meets up with the young and the restless Adam (Alex Pettyfer), is a private home standing at the end of Oceanview Drive in Tierra Verde, a one-time group of islands south of St Petersburg drained and built up to provide luxury housing, and boasting those gorgeous views over the Gulf of Mexico (from the roof, at least).
Adam turns out to be not the world’s greatest roofing tiler and loses the job as quickly as he found it. He accompanies his protective sister Brooke (Cody Horn) and her boyfriend, Tall Paul (Reid Carolin – screenwriter and co-producer of the film), for dinner in Ybor City, the renovated industrial district northeast of downtown Tampa.
The restaurant is the Bricks Ybor, 1327 East 7th Avenue, in the heart of the bustling nightclub and entertainment district.
It’s among the fun-seeking crowds on East 7th Avenue he bumps into his new pal, and pressures Mike into gaining him admittance, despite red hoodie and trainers, to a flashy disco – which is in reality events and concert venue Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 East 7th Avenue. It’s here Mike persuades Adam to chat up girls and so drums up a little business for ‘Xquisite’.
Adam tags along to Mike’s place of evening work and, after shaky start, the youngster soon finds himself joining Dallas’s team of pelvic thrusters.
Following a night with the girls from Amphitheatre, Mike and Adam work off their excess energy in the small hours leaping into the water from the bridge at Pinellas Bayway, the road leading south to Tierra Verde.
A whole new world opens up for Adam, as The Kid, as he joins the Kings and their female companions for a Fourth of July ‘sandbar party’ on Three Rooker Island, about five miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, just to the north.
Three Rooker Island is a tiny, semicircular sandbar that’s only emerged from the sea within the last few years. One of the islands within the Anclote Key Preserve State Park, it's accessible by boat, though a large chunk of it is designated as a bird sanctuary. There are no public facilities on the island, which is regularly patrolled to protect the fragile environment.
Mike and Brooke are starting to get closer, a development given a boost when Mike spots his on-off hookup Joanna (Olivia Munn) having dinner with a guy who turns out to be her fiancé. The restaurant was Sunday's Fine Dining, 1919 East 7th Avenue, back in Ybor City. It’s since closed and the premises now houses Istanblu Restaurant & Bar.
Things take a darker turn when the reckless Adam follows the traditional path and begins to dabble in drugs, and Mike generously gives up his hard-earned savings to bail him out.
Mike gives up dancing and a star is born as The Kid takes over his position as Dallas takes the troupe to the next level, as the ‘Kings of Miami’.
Mike and Adam have a final conversation discussing their futures at Caddy's On The Beach, 9000 West Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island, on the shore west of St Petersburg. It’s a great beach bar and the ideal place to watch the sunset.