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Above the Line Newsflash: Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike Reprise, the Ubiquitous Pete Davidson, the McKay-Ferrell Split

December 2, 2021 09:00 | By
Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum (center) in Magic Mike (Warner Bros.)

Magic Mike 3 in the Works Because Channing Tatum’s Gotta Eat

Channing Tatum is ready to take it all off and shake his stuff onscreen again, as he’s set to revisit his signature role as stripper Mike Lane in Magic Mike’s Last Dance. That’s a great title for this sexy sequel, which will be made specifically for HBO Max. This is exactly the kind of movie the streamer should be focused on making right now, as Magic Mike is an established IP with a built-in fanbase and the kind of movie that costs a fraction of WB’s other franchise films.

Soderbergh may be the least predictable major director in all of Hollywood, so I suppose nothing he does should surprise me anymore, but personally, I think Mike’s story has been told at this point and Soderbergh would be better off focusing his considerable talents elsewhere.

That said, the Sex, Lies and Videotape director should look at this sequel as an opportunity to make something a bit more risqué than the average studio film, especially since adults are going to be watching Last Dance in the privacy of their own homes. People are craving some titillation these days, and the hunky Tatum is in a position to provide that. Others should take note.

For example, remember when Jennifer Salke announced that Amazon was planning to resurrect the steamy thrillers of the ’80s and ’90s? Well, its current development slate does not reflect that. And if I worked for Peacock, I’d try to find a way to continue Universal‘s 50 Shades franchise or launch some kind of sexy anthology series under its imprimatur. I doubt Tatum would play a Christian Grey type, but there’s no question he’s ready to shake his moneymaker for the right price.

The charismatic actor hasn’t had a real starring role in a movie since Logan Lucky in 2017, when he also co-starred in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Since then, he has voiced Superman (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) and George Washington (America: The Motion Picture), produced a couple of little-seen indie films (6 Balloons, Light Years), and directed the upcoming movie Dog, which pairs him with a German Shepherd, but for the most part, Tatum has largely avoided the limelight of late.

Of course, if you’re thirsty for shirtless Tatum, keep an eye out for the adventure comedy The Lost City of D, in which he’ll play the famous cover model on a series of romance books who finds himself traversing the jungle with their reclusive author, played by Sandra Bullock. And just wait til you see his cameo as singer Daryl Hall in an upcoming streaming series that shall not be named.

I’ve been a fan of Tatum since his breakout role in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and like Chris Pratt and Ryan Reynolds, I believe he’s one of the few stars who can do action, comedy, and romance. Seriously, not even The Rock can do all of those. Magic Mike may be ready for his last dance, but I suspect Tatum has a few more moves up his sleeve.

Pete Davidson

Pete Davidson & Kim Kardashian on Saturday Night Live (NBC)

He’s Here, He’s There, He’s Every F*cking Where…

No, I’m not talking about Roy Kent, I’m talking about Pete Davidson, who is everywhere these days. Between his new relationship with Kim Kardashian and his weekly platform on Saturday Night Live, it has become nearly impossible to avoid Davidson, who has become so ubiquitous in pop culture that he’s in danger of becoming overexposed. I thought the holidays might provide some welcome respite with SNL on hiatus, but nope, I was wrong. Davidson is set to co-host Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party with Miley Cyrus, marking the first time in 17 years that NBC’s broadcast won’t be hosted by Carson Daly. Whoa!

Davidson proved himself a capable leading man in Judd Apatow‘s comedy The King of Staten Island, and he has since blossomed into one of ICM’s highest-profile clients. He popped up (briefly) in James Gunn‘s DC sequel The Suicide Squad, and I just saw him appear in The Jonas Brothers Roast on Netflix. The guy even voiced freakin’ Marmaduke earlier this year. Davidson recently wrapped the romantic comedy Meet Cute with Kaley Cuoco, and he also co-stars in the upcoming horror movie Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, for which A24 has very high hopes. Davidson also lends his voice to the adult animated series The Freak Brothers, and he’s set to be part of the young ensemble of Rupert Sanders‘ war movie, The Things They Carried. I also look forward to Worst Man, the Universal comedy he’s making with SNL cohort Colin Jost.

Miley (and Pete’s) New Year’s Eve special will air from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on NBC as well as on Peacock. I just hope Kim Kardashian makes a cameo on the broadcast, because if Pete Davidson is in search of a midnight kiss, no one in Times Square is safe.

Jack Dorsey: Twitter Quitter

Jack Dorsey has stepped down as CEO of Twitter, and not a moment too soon, I might add, given what a miserable hellscape the social media site has devolved into under his leadership. Dorsey has long been a controversial figure, given his refusal to ban white supremacists and other proponents of hate speech from the platform. I realize that if we want to live in a truly free society, we have to accept the fact that ignorant people will always exist and seek out like-minded folks online. I couldn’t call myself a proponent of free speech if I called for these groups to be de-platformed. The problem I have is that Twitter’s algorithm is all but designed not just to host, but to promote that kind of offensive material and prey on the ensuing outrage, thus rewarding tweets that seem geared toward sowing discord among the masses. Hate, unfortunately, draws engagement.

Incoming CEO Parag Agrawal is a 10-year veteran of the company, so he’s surely familiar with these kinds of sensitive PR problems. He would be wise not to ignore them, because they won’t just go away. Left alone, they’ll simply fester, until users start leaving en masse just as Facebook has recently seen. Though revenue is up, Twitter has already seen slower growth than its competitors. That may be because today’s youth is hanging out in TikTok instead. Indeed, word of what a bummer Twitter has become seems to be out among younger people.

Agrawal was known as one of Dorsey’s closest confidantes, the “Jack Whisperer,” if you will, and as his predecessor was prone to do, the former CTO quickly stepped in it when the company announced a wonky new privacy initiative aimed at curbing nonconsensual photos. Like many Twitter initiatives, it’s a nice idea in theory, but it opens another can of worms about censorship, and the way it was communicated to the subscriber base left much to be desired. Plus, the policy still remains unnecessarily confusing.

Personally, I’d love to delete my Twitter account, which has proven to be more detrimental than beneficial to my career, yet I can’t bring myself to leave the site, as that’s where my readers are. Where else would I share my work? How else would I promote it? That’s the evil genius of Twitter… it’s not-so-secretly holding the media hostage. We all want to leave, but none of us can. Not really. I’ve met a lot of great people on Twitter, and read a lot of great stories, and watched a lot of great videos that I may have missed otherwise, but I can’t wait for the microblogging platform to fall out of fashion one day. And that day will come. The bell tolls for everyone, eventually. Especially for those who schedule all-hands meetings at 9:05 a.m. What is this, TBS?

Step Brothers

˜Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers (Sony)

From Step Brothers to Ex-Friends

I know that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay split up as business partners back in April 2019, but the dissolution of their longtime friendship is only just coming to light now, and it’s kind of heartbreaking. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, McKay said he and his Gary Sanchez partner parted ways upon discovering they had different ambitions. McKay’s attention has been on socially-conscious satires, from The Big Short and Vice to his upcoming star-studded Netflix movie Don’t Look Up. Ferrell has always seemed like a guy who just wants to make people laugh. To him, movies are supposed to be an escape from all the crappy things going on in the world.

McKay relayed Ferrell’s fear that he’d be driving around Los Angeles and run into a billboard for a project he didn’t know Gary Sanchez had produced. To be honest, it was a relief to even hear a star of Ferrell’s caliber voice such a concern, as I was starting to believe that had become the goal for many of these multi-hyphenates — to be so busy, and have their hands in so many pies, that they themselves forget what they’re actually involved with. Isn’t that the dream?

McKay also admitted that he went behind Ferrell’s back to cast Ferrell’s buddy John C. Reilly as Lakers owner Jerry Buss in an upcoming NBA series coming to HBO next year. That’s Hollywood, folks! It’s a cold place. I suspect that Ferrell’s casting would’ve thrown the whole ensemble out of whack, whereas Reilly, though certainly recognizable, is more of a chameleon. Lost in this story is Michael Shannon, who was originally cast as Dr. Buss, but I digress.

In addition to Don’t Look Up and HBO’s Succession, McKay earned a half-dozen other producing credits in 2021, including Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Clearly, McKay is a man of many interests. Ferrell, for his part, is coming off the disappointing Apple series The Shrink Next Door, and may very well benefit from a new partnership, one that prioritizes his unique comic sensibility. He’s been busy shooting Spirited, a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol co-starring Ryan Reynolds, which seems like a step in the right direction. Ferrell and McKay may want different things out of their careers these days, but I do hope that they kiss and make up for the sake of their friendship.

House of Gucci

(L-R) Adam Driver, Jared Leto and Lady Gaga in House of Gucci (MGM)

The House of Gucci Is Mad at Ridley Scott, Who’s Mad at Millennials

The Gucci family is fuming over its depiction in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, which is to be expected at this point. It’s not like any of the Guccis were given the royal treatment like Venus & Serena Williams (King Richard), Monica Lewinsky (Impeachment: American Crime Story) or the surviving members of Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody), all of whom were involved in bringing their life stories to the screen. Without any creative input in that process, it’s only natural to be unhappy when a filmmaker takes creative license to tell an entertaining story.

As a filmmaker, Sir Ridley knows that he can’t concern himself with the family’s feelings, nor does he necessarily owe anyone the truth. If you want the truth, go watch a documentary. Or the news, depending on the channel. But a director’s first responsibility is to their audience, and whether or not you like House of Gucci, I don’t know how you could argue that it’s not an entertaining flick, even with a running time of more than two-and-a-half hours. If anything, I think Ridley could’ve pushed the camp factor even further.

“The film carries a narrative that is far from accurate,” the Gucci clan said in a statement before noting that the production didn’t bother to consult the heirs of Aldo Gucci, who is played rather brilliantly by Al Pacino in the film. The Guccis claim to be depicted as “thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them,” calling their shabby treatment “extremely painful from a human point of view, and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today.”

I agree with the Guccis that it’s borderline absurd that Patrizia Gucci is made out by the film and its cast (during press interviews) to be “a victim who was trying to survive in a masculine and macho corporate culture.” This woman ordered the murder of her husband, Maurizio Gucci, was convicted of the crime and has since shown no remorse! Only in Hollywood could we be asked to empathize with such a cold-blooded person. Every day, there are relationships that don’t work out. Believe me, I know! But the heartless end of a marriage is hardly justification for murder. On the other hand, I don’t really know what the Guccis are so upset about, or what they expect Ridley to do about it at this point. If this movie doesn’t drive sales, I’ll be shocked.

Scott hasn’t responded to the family’s statement, but he did take offense when Patrizia accused him of “stealing the identity of a family to make a profit,” which is, after all, the goal of every movie, whether it’s based on a true story or not.

“I don’t engage with that,” Scott told a BBC Radio program. “You have to remember that one Gucci was murdered and another went to jail for tax evasion so you can’t be talking to me about making a profit. As soon as you do that you become part of the public domain.”

At 83 years old, Scott may just be the hardest working man in show business, as House of Gucci is his second film in as many months, following The Last Duel, plus he’s prepping Apple’s Napoleon movie Kitbag for a January shoot, with Joaquin Phoenix set to play the French military leader. Jodie Comer will co-star as Napoleon’s wife, and she also played the female lead in The Last Duel. Despite the presence of stars such as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver, that challenging period film underperformed at the box office, prompting Ridley to blame millennial audiences for not showing up. That strikes me as a bit unfair, as millennials were never really the target audience for that movie, and pandemic or not, the audience for a medieval movie about rape, let alone one that presents the scene three different times from three different perspectives, was always going to be rather limited.

“I think what it boils down to… what we’ve got today, [are] the audiences who were brought up on these f***ing cellphones. The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone,” Scott said on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast.

Ridley’s “angry old man” comments fail to take any responsibility for his baffling misread of the market — even with the pandemic affecting the box office. The maestro made a big-budget #MeToo movie, and to single out the millennial demo for its moviegoing apathy is disingenuous at best. The truth is that if The Last Duel was ever going to earn its budget back, it would’ve had to rely on older audiences in their 50s, 60s and 70s, and that’s the very audience that has yet to return to theaters. The pandemic spares no one, and The Last Duel‘s mid-October release date (surrounded by James Bond, Venom and Halloween sequels, not to mention Dune) could not have been worse.

Though the Gucci family is clearly upset, it is not expected to take any legal action at this time, so Scott is in the clear there. Let’s just hope those damned millennials don’t hold it against him when it comes time to promote those limited series in the works based on his past hits Alien and Blade Runner. What’s truly funny about this whole mishegas is that when I saw House of Gucci, there were several groups of young women and teenage girls in attendance, thanks largely to the presence of Lady Gaga. I highly doubt those millennials would’ve shown up to that crime drama had it starred anyone else, but I didn’t hear Scott crediting them for that film’s far superior box office showing in comparison to The Last Duel.


Jeff Sneider

Jeff Sneider

Jeff Sneider is a veteran entertainment reporter who has spent the past 15 years writing for VarietyThe Wrap, Mashable, and Collider, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Tracking Board. Jeff currently serves as a weekly columnist for LAMag.com and he has also written for MTV Movies Blog, Hollywood Life, AICN, Washington Square News, and the Colorado Springs Independent. He is the host of The Sneider Cut podcast as well as the awards-themed show For Your Consideration, and the former host of Meet the Movie Press. Jeff is a 2006 graduate of New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied screenwriting.

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