*Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, “Magic Mike XXL“ has been doing work at the box offices for the past week or so. There are no giant robots, no superheroes and no ravenous aliens, but the Warner Bros. film has been duking it out with the big dogs of the summer blockbuster season and is giving more lumps than it is taking.
According to deadline.com, 96 percent of the film’s audience were women. Considering you have a movie with Channing Tatum taking his shirt off, it’s no big surprise the gender split of the audience is overwhelmingly in favor of women.
Box Office Mojo reports that Magic Mike XXL beat out Terminator Genisys on opening day, but is currently fourth behind Jurassic World, Inside Out and Terminator Genisys in gate receipts this past July 4th weekend.
His name is Stephen “tWitch” Boss. I recently had the opportunity to talk to tWitch, spelling is correct, about his role in “Magic Mike XXL,” what it was like on the set with Channing Tatum, Ms. Pinkett Smith and more.
Ricardo A. Hazell: What were your first thoughts when presented with the script for “Magic Mike XXL?”
tWitch: I was really excited. For whatever reason, perhaps something in the ether out there, but I had been putting it in my mind that, once I found out there was going to be a sequel to Magic Mike, that I was going to be in it. When it came into fruition it was really exciting.
RH: This is a film about male exotic dancers. Individuals who dance for whomever has the money to pay, male or female, gay or straight. Some men just are not comfortable enough to be objectified by women let alone gay men. Did you have any initial reservations about some of the content?
tWitch: I was 100 percent comfortable because, artistically, it’s been part of the world that I grew up in as far as the profession , the craft and the artform. As an artist, we really don’t have that macho thing. There’s a certain tolerance level. Let’s be real, I’m a dancer. For me to be worried about entertaining gay audiences or anything like that would be ridiculous. For me, I never really worried about it because that’s the world that I came up in. I’m completely supportive of that. There’s no hesitance. To be quite honest, I think there’s something for anyone who’s comfortable enough to see this movie.
RH: Admittedly, I wouldn’t have seen this movie on my own dollar. However, I am glad I did see it. It is entertaining. What would you say to convince more men to give the film a chance?
tWitch: Even with the dudes taking their clothes off and stuff like that, guys would want to take a road trip like the characters are taking in the film. You think about all of the homies that you would like to jump in the car with and take a ride across the country, stopping at dance places and stuff like that. They would be gone! So, the characters are people that anyone can relate to if they’re comfortable enough to see it, then see it.
RH: What was the day-to-day atmosphere like on set while shooting?
tWitch: From top to bottom, it was all good vibes. From the rehersal classes all the way through the filming. I didn’t know how it was going to be coming into a movie with guys who are making a sequel. You got the camaraderie they’ve already established from the first one. You know, a bond. So, bring in new cast members might be tricky. But there was none of that. It was all open arms. Everybody was great, everybody was supportive or learning the choreography, perfecting the choreography and, when it came to shooting , we were all excited to see each other doing well. It was a blast making the whole thing. I think that probably jumped off the screen because it was genuine.
RH: What was it like working with Channing Tatum?
tWitch: One of the best experiences that I’ve had professionally. He’s such a good dude. That’s really an understatement, but that’s the best that I can say. Hard to put it in words. He’s just a good, genuine, down-to-earth cat. To me, that speaks volumes because that’s literally Channing Tatum. I think he could rule a big part of the country if he wanted to. But he never talks to you like he’s speaking down on anyone. Never, never, never. To me, that’s such an incredible thing. Then, why would you ever want it to be any other way? Why would you want to work with someone who is not like that?
RH: What was it like working with the Queen, Ms. Jada Pinkett Smith?
tWitch: It’s Jada. Say no more. For me, she was one of the huge staples of the movie. What she brought to the role I felt it was incredibly empowering. Her delivery of her dialogue. And, also, she created her dialogue. She kind of came in and dived in head first about what it would be to be this person and offer these things and why it would make sense, and make you believe it.
You felt empowered just watching her as they were filming it. We all felt good about what we were doing. Even though she was saying lines it made sense for that world. I think it was something that needs to be seen to be appreciated. The variety of entertainment in the movie is something the viewers will not be ready for. It goes far beyond just dancing and all of that.
RH: Is there anything that you might having coming up down the road that I neglected to ask you about?
tWitch: In the dance realm. So You Think You Can Dance is coming on. It already started and I am a mentor for ten of the candidates. They’re going to be street dancers. They switched the format up this season to be street versus stage. They have 20 contestants, ten of them are stage dancers who have been training all of their lives in dance studios. They’re mentored by Travis Wall. Then you have ten contestants that are street dancers and they’re mentored by me. Comes on every Monday on Fox.
Secondly, I’m part of a company called CLI Studios, where we’re making the dance world a little smaller. We’re offering dance classes from professional choreographers online. It’s called CLI Studios.
You can catch tWitch in “Magic Mike XXL” or tune in to see him educate up-and-coming talent on “So You Think You Can Dance.” In the mean time, if you can follow Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss on Twitter @official_twitch.