Channing Tatum: Salma Hayek Pinault ‘Saved Our Movie’ as the ‘Strongest Possible’ Co-Star

Thandiwe Newton exited the film early in production, with Hayek Pinault replacing her as Tatum's onscreen love interest.
MAGIC MIKE'S LAST DANCE, Salma Hayek, Channing Tatum,
"Magic Mike's Last Dance"
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Channing Tatum wanted the best dance partner possible in his “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” co-star. Thankfully, Salma Hayek Pinault was ready to shimmy alongside him.

The lead star and executive producer of the “Magic Mike” franchise credited Hayek Pinault for being the “strongest possible” leading woman.

“That was the one want for how we are in this story,” Tatum told Entertainment Tonight. “I just really wanted the strongest possible [woman] and she came in [and] actually controlled the whole thing.”

He added, “She came and saved our movie because we had a bunch of men that were trying to tell a story about a woman.”

Thandiwe Newton was originally cast in the co-lead role of Max, who is both Magic Mike’s (Tatum) love interest and business partner in a reverse “Pretty Woman” way. Newton parted ways with the production in April 2022 to “deal with family matters” per an official press statement, with Hayek Pinault replacing her.

“Oh yeah, I went in and, you know what, [it was the] first time I feel like I was really heard, respected and invited,” Hayek Pinault said. “It was actually very interesting because we would get together and have many very different opinions. It was very interesting to see three different men have such different perspectives. [Although] sometimes they seem like the perspectives of Martians.”

Tatum added, “Movies are hard, [they’re] crazy. The movie’s gonna take on its own life like the show has its own life and you kind of just have to respect that journey for both of these artistic ventures.”

Director Steven Soderbergh previously addressed Newton’s exit, saying that the “real” reason behind her departure will remain a “private” matter.

“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,” Soderbergh told Rolling Stone. “Everything I saw publicly was wrong. I don’t think anybody sees any benefit in running through this publicly. It becomes something you can’t control. 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.”

Soderbergh admitted the film had to “recalibrate” with the sudden casting change.

“There’s no question. We all spent hours and hours in rooms rebuilding it, rethinking it to make it specific,” Soderbergh said. “At a certain point, you have to surrender to what the cinema gods want for you. You really do.”

“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” opens in theaters February 10 from Warner Bros.

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