Steven Soderbergh Says He Considers Thandiwe Newton's 'Magic Mike 3' Exit a 'Private' Decision

Thandiwe Newton was replaced by Salma Hayek Pinault in Magic Mike's Last Dance in April 2022

Steven Soderbergh Calls Past Reports of Thandiwe Newton's Magic Mike Exit Incorrect: 'I Consider It Private'
Photo: Sylvain Lefevre/WireImage, Manny Hernandez/Getty

Steven Soderbergh is dismissing any and all rumors regarding why Thandiwe Newton dropped out of Magic Mike's Last Dance.

In the Academy Award-winning director's recent interview with Rolling Stone, Soderbergh, 60, said that "everything [he] saw publicly was wrong" concerning Newton's decision to leave the project.

"Nothing I ever saw was accurate, and there's really no upside for anybody involved in litigating this or excavating it, because I consider it private," the director said when asked about 50-year-old Newton's exit.

"Everything I saw publicly was wrong," Soderbergh continued. "It was just… I don't think anybody sees any benefit in running through this publicly."

"It becomes something you can't control," he added. "Right now, to keep it private means all of us can control it, and I think that's where it should sit for the time being."

A Warner Bros. spokesperson told PEOPLE in April 2022 that Newton had "made the difficult decision to step away from the production of Warner Bros. Pictures' Magic Mike's Last Dance to deal with family matters."

The Crash star, who was otherwise due to make her first appearance in the Magic Mike series, was replaced by Salma Hayek Pinault in the upcoming movie.

Thandiwe Newton praises a past Salma Hayek movie as Hayek begins filming her role in MM3
Thandiwe Newton and Salma Hayek. getty (2)

Shortly after Newton's exit from the project, the Westworld star praised Hayek Pinault, 56, for her role in the 2017 movie Beatriz at Dinner, writing on her Instagram Story at the time: "For me, no finer performance, no finer film, about the real questions we need to be asking."

She tagged Hayek Pinault in the post, saying: "I love you."

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Hayek Pinault plays Maxandra Mendoza in Magic Mike's Last Dance, a wealthy socialite who, mid-divorce, sets out to create a liberating stage show (filled with stripping, of course) in a stuffy London theater.

Maxandra enlists the expertise of Channing Tatum's "Magic" Mike Lane after a chance meeting in Miami, and he assembles a crew of innovative dancers to pull off the steamy spectacle.

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

Hayek Pinault tells PEOPLE that working with costar Tatum, 42, was a delight: She "found him to be a real gentleman."

"He's like a Southern gentleman and he cares about that. Because he's so cool and goofy and funny. He can be that. Or he can also be very smart and intense and focused," says Hayek Pinault. "He's always kind. ... And I told him, I said, 'Your mom taught you well.' I think that normally comes, most of the times, from the mother. I think that is true."

She adds, "He's very respectful and he's very thoughtful."

Magic Mike's Last Dance is in theaters Feb. 10.

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