THE heart and soul of Magic Mike XXL is really some male entertainers taking an epic road trip together, according to its stars Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello.

Tatum (AKA Magic Mike) and Manganiello (Big Dick Ritchie) were in Sydney this week for the Australian premiere, which was featured at the Qantas Credit Union Arena.

"It was the biggest one I've ever seen," Manganiello said.

"There was 5000-plus people, that's a rock concert."

The boys stuck around during the movie and enjoyed hearing all the screams and cheers during the film.

"When Ginuwine's Pony comes on everyone was going nuts, it's like teasing a crowd at a concert," Manganiello said of his co-star's signature scene.

Tatum gives it back, stating the fans also went wild for Big Dick Ritchie's fuel station scene.

 Joe Manganiello in a scene from the movie Magic Mike XXL. Supplied by Warner Bros.
Joe Manganiello in a scene from the movie Magic Mike XXL. Supplied by Warner Bros. Claudette Barius

Magic Mike XXL has gone in a very different direction to its predecessor and Tatum, who is a producer, said that was the idea.

"Three years later, Mike had left the guys and walked out, had started his dream of a furniture company," Tatum explains.

"It's going all right. Things in his personal life maybe aren't going the way he wanted them to and wanted his business life to be better but then the guys come through Tampa at a very interesting point. Sort of to remind him about a part of himself he's put away and decides to go on this road trip with them."

Manganiello said the first film was very much about showing the reasons why someone would want to leave the male entertainer industry.

"Part two is all the reasons why someone would never want to get out of that lifestyle," he said.

"You hear interviews with pro athletes who leave the game and they say 'I miss the guys, I miss the camaraderie, I miss the locker room' and this story centres around that. It's the heart of this movie."

Tatum said his biggest regret from the first film was writing thin secondary characters.

"We were lucky to get great actors because we had an Academy Award-winning director," he said.

"When we were in the locker room scenes, we realised this is the movie, this is really what we want to do. But we'd already set the dominoes up to fall in a different way.

"We always said if we were going to do another one it would be about the guys.

"And we added some great other cast including some interesting characters in the female arena you haven't seen in the film before."

However don't expect a third film, according to Tatum.

"I'm not writing it," he laughed. "I am out of ideas, like I have no more actual real life experiences I can pull from."

Next up is the X-Men stand-alone film Gambit for Tatum, which starts filming in a couple of months, and Manganiello has just finished filming the role of Pee-wee Herman's best friend in a Judd Apatow-produced film to be released next year which Tatum is super excited about.

Magic Mike XXL is showing in cinemas now.

Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum in a scene from the movie Magic Mike XXL. Supplied by Warner Bros.
Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum in a scene from the movie Magic Mike XXL. Supplied by Warner Bros. Claudette Barius

Magic Mike XXL

Stars: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks.

Director: Gregory Jacobs

Rating: MA 15+

Reviewer's last word: While it's not quite as good as the original, this sequel has enough beefy charm and well-oiled entertainment to keep fans entertained.

Star profile: Joe Manganiello

Quirky fact: Used to get paid to dress up like Captain Morgan at bars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Best known for: True Blood, Spider-Man, One Tree Hill, How I Met Your Mother.

If you like this movie you'll like these: Magic Mike, Trainwreck, 21 Jump Street.

Quote: "I grew up a misfit. I never fit in. I had all of these parts that were in direct conflict with each other. I was an athlete, but I was extremely artistic. I was a big strong kid who was also very sensitive and empathetic. I was a jock who was good at math and chess and loved to read. I didn't know what group to hang out with in school until I started acting."


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