“Magic Mike” is still impacting co-star Adam Rodriguez nearly a decade later.
Rodriguez, who played Tito in the hit 2012 movie opposite Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello, is serving as a mentor/judge in “Finding Magic Mike,” an HBO Max reality series produced by Tatum and Steven Soderbergh in which everyday men compete to “find their magic” and go through an intense “boot camp” involving dancing for the grand prize.
“When I was signing on to do a part as a male stripper, I could never have imagined that what we all collectively created would end up becoming something that was going to help people in the way that it has,” said Rodriguez, 46, who co-stars on CBS’ “CSI: Miami.”
“The movies changed the conversation on some level,” he said. “A lot of people could look at it like it’s just about … having these kinds of bodies that everybody seems to have now. And I worked hard for it and I completely salute that. But I think on a deeper level, the movies really did something that nobody expected them to do, and that was the genius of it.
“This show carries that forward in a less abstract way. People are going to get all of the things they’re showing up to expect — half-naked men dancing and trying to stay on their feet — but there’s so much more: the heart, the laughter, the triumph, the feeling of watching guys you think are going to fail [turn out to] win. It’s just wonderful.”
Adam Rodriguez (left), Channing Tatum, and Matt Bomer (right) in “Magic Mike” Claudette Barius
Along the way, the contestants get personal in front of the cameras and with each other, such as one competitor who shares that he has difficulty initiating intimacy with his girlfriend — and is looking to find that confidence through partaking in “Finding Magic Mike.” Another contestant, who’s a former Olympic hopeful, confesses that his life feels aimless now that he’s retired.
Adam Rodriguez mentors contestants in “Finding Magic Mike”
Rodriguez also co-starred in the 2015 sequel “Magic Mike XXL” , about a group of male strippers in Florida (reportedly based on Tatum’s life).
“I absolutely grew from the experience of doing both movies — the brotherhood that was formed and the way we supported and lifted each other up,” he said. “I was excited to take what I learned and bring it to this show and help these guys find those things for themselves.”
Contestants learn dance routines, compete for a cash prize and seek to “find their magic” on the “Magic Mike” inspired reality competition series “Finding Magic Mike.”
Among the many lessons that he learned was getting comfortable with vulnerability, he said.
“To get up and learn how to dance — which is something I had never been trained to do, and to do that in a G-string in front of the world, you have to make yourself okay with people laughing at you or being charged up by you. I had never been in any other situation where I felt that kind of pressure, but also the strength in embracing it and living up to it. I think all of our guys in this show managed to find those same things with the challenges they were presented with. It made me a better person, for sure.
Adam Rodriguez sits with the choreographers and talks contestants through a problem on “Finding Magic Mike.”
“We want to do a show that carries on the ethos of what the movies were about — which was really pushing past what has become toxic masculinity over the years, and so normalized that I’m sure for some people, hearing that it’s toxic is hard to even understand,” he said. “Without beating up people for it, we just wanted to inspire guys to be OK with being more vulnerable, and accepting the fact that they might not have all the answers, and there are different ways to find them. This competition show and the challenges that get presented are, in some small way, an opportunity for these guys to find something they either felt they lost, or to discover parts of themselves that they never knew existed. Of course, of all things, through male stripping! The irony was always funny to begin with.”
Contestant Nate Bryan does a dance routine on the “Magic Mike” inspired reality series, “Finding Magic Mike.”
A third and final “Magic Mike” movie was announced in November, but Rodriguez said he will not appear in it.
“No, that’s going to be a new crop of faces, other than Chan [Tatum],” he said. “The old crew have been allowed to take a rest — which I’m half-disappointed about and half happy about. I could have used the excuse to get in shape right now! But, I’m excited to see what the guys put out and where they take the story.”
Source by nypost.com