Salma Hayek Pinault Breaks Down That Epic 'Magic Mike 3' Lap Dance Scene: 'I Was So Sore'

"Most of the work goes into making it look effortless," the Magic Mike's Last Dance actress tells PEOPLE

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

Salma Hayek Pinault is proud of the work she put into one of the standout scenes from Magic Mike's Last Dance.

Early in the film, the actress's wealthy socialite Maxandra Mendoza gets to know Channing Tatum's "Magic" Mike Lane via a steamy private dance, an intimate interaction that gives Mendoza her groove back, so to speak, and launches the rest of the plot.

Hayek Pinault, 56, tells PEOPLE she didn't expect the five-minute lap dance scene to become the most talked about sequence from the sequel: "Every single person that's seen the movie talks first and mostly about that scene, which it's a surprise for me. But I'm glad because it works for the story of the movie."

The scene, which takes place in Miami, was filmed during "magic hour" over three days and required lots of rehearsals. Hayek Pinault admits she's "not much of a worker-outer" so the choreography proved "challenging" for her.

"Most of the work goes into making it look effortless," she explains. "After the first rehearsal I was sore because I'm not in shape and it's not movement you're used to. So I was sore. It was technical: You've got to make sure you don't poke his eye with a stiletto or knock him out or he doesn't drop me. He kept telling me he was 'very strong, don't worry,' but still you've got to hold on a little bit with the arms or the legs."

One move didn't make the final cut. "I was supposed to do something and I didn't do it and it was crucial, and he almost dropped me to the ground. He caught me like a millimeter before my head, because I was upside down, hit the floor. We got rid of that one."

Salma Hayek, left, and Channing Tatum pose for photos on the red carpet at the premiere of the movie, "Magic Mike's Last Dance,", in Miami Beach
Salma Hayek and Channing Tatum. Wilfredo Lee/AP/Shutterstock

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Hayek Pinault says she didn't hesitate to ask for advice or lean on the dance professionals on set.

"They are the world experts on this kind of a dance. I needed a lot of advice. But then I wanted it to be also my own thing, so they kind of adjusted the choreographer to my flow," she says. "He was finding the middle ground between the two of us. So that felt smooth and organic. To me, it was also very different because I've danced in other movies before, but I've danced for a guy. It really felt like he was dancing for me, but also at some point ... we wanted it to have an art that we were moving together. I was not sitting there having this guy dance. We connected and we were moving together."

Seeing the hypnotic final product gave Hayek Pinault a sense of accomplishment. When all was said and done, the actress who was at first "nervous" managed to have a "blast" pulling it off.

Hayek Pinault says her scene partner Tatum, 42, was a "real gentleman" throughout production. She recalls him being "cool, goofy and funny" but also "very smart, intense and focused." And, fortunately, they had an undeniable chemistry right away, something Hayek Pinault knows isn't always guaranteed between two costars.

"You cannot fabricate chemistry. You can hate somebody and have chemistry onscreen, and there's people that fall in love in movies and the movies don't work because there's no chemistry," the Oscar nominee says. "We were just the right mix, I think, for this. It's kind of like the camera decides that, and we just got lucky. But you know what? We get along great."

Magic Mike's Last Dance is now in theaters.

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