'Magic Mike's Last Dance' Director Defends Having 'No Nudity' in Sequel: 'There's Not Even a Thong'

Director Steven Soderbergh said "it was our desire to make a sexy movie" by exploring "intimacy and genuine emotion"

Salma Hayek and Channing Tatum in the new Magic Mike movie
Photo: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Steven Soderbergh is explaining why the latest Magic Mike film doesn't feature any nudity.

The Magic Mike director, 60, returns to the big-screen stripper franchise for Magic Mike's Last Dance, which again stars Channing Tatum as "Magic" Mike Lane. The R-rated sequel, which also stars Salma Hayek Pinault, may not showcase any nudity beyond shirtless dancers, but Soderbergh feels it still delivers on steaminess.

"To me, it's about sexy. It's not about the sex, per se, and whether the movie is explicit. There's no nudity in [my 1998 film] Out of Sight. There's no nudity in Magic Mike's Last Dance. There's not even a thong," he told Rolling Stone. "And yet, it was our desire to make a sexy movie."

He added, "What's sexy is intimacy and genuine emotion. Something that feels alive, and electric, and has the potential for vulnerability. That can be sexy."

"You're letting somebody inside your heart, and that's scary. You can get hurt," continued Soderbergh. "The really radical thing to do right now, it seems to me, as opposed to showing the beginning of the relationship when there's all this heat and light because of the attraction — that's easy — is to show people who've been married for 20 years for whom that's still true. Where you don't even make a big deal of it. They've been together for 20 years, and they're still into each other in that way."

Salma Hayek and Channing Tatum in the new Magic Mike movie
Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek in Magic Mike's Last Dance (2023). Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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In February 2022, Tatum, 42, joked about originally not wanting to do another Magic Mike because it would mean overworking to achieve unhealthy body expectations for the stripping scenes.

"That might be the reason why I didn't want to do a third one," Tatum said on Kelly Clarkson's talk show at the time as she showed a shirtless photo of him from the second film in the franchise, Magic Mike XXL. "Because I have to look like that."

RELATED VIDEO: Channing Tatum Teases 'Super Bowl of Stripping' in Magic Mike's Last Dance

"It's hard to look like that. Even if you do work out, to be that kind of in shape is not natural," he added. "That's not even healthy. You have to starve yourself. I don't think when you're that lean it's actually healthy."

Tatum previously told PEOPLE he wanted the female-centric third movie in the franchise to feature new styles of dance: "I want it to be the Super Bowl of stripping. I want dancing like we've never been able to do in the other two movies, because we had to be honest to what the reality of that world is, which isn't great dancing."

Magic Mike's Last Dance is in theaters Friday.

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