'Magic Mike' Star Channing Tatum Denies He Stole Stripper Moves From Former Co-Workers
Magic Mike star Channing Tatum is laughing off accusations that he used the real-life stories of two former male strippers he once worked with in his new movie.
Thomas "Awesome" Austin and London Steele -- both of whom worked with Tatum during his brief stint as a stripper in Tampa, Fla. -- told TMZ last week that they think the movie's characters bear several resemblances to their own lives.
The duo -- who are upset that Tatum didn't involve them in the movie or consult with them -- say that special stripper moves they taught Tatum are used in the movie, including the "Hot Seat," which Austin claims to have invented.
They also claimed that the title of the Steven Soderbergh-directed movie -- which stars Tatum, who also produced -- is a name that Austin coined for a fellow dancer.
Austin added that Tatum was an "amateur" when they met.
"He only danced for four months," he told TMZ. "How many events could have happened to him?"
But at a Magic Mike press junket Saturday at the Four Seasons Hotel, Tatum defended himself against their accusations.
"Those guys have been trying to make money off of me since I got into this business," Tatum told reporters.
The actor said that the movie's characters are not based on anyone.
"Look, there’s nothing that’s factual in this whole movie other than that I was an 18-year-old kid and went into this world and I dropped out of college from playing football and was living on my sister’s couch," he said. "There’s not one character that I took from my real life; this is just a world that I went into, and I had a perspective on. And we created everything from a fictional place."
Still, he had good words to say about his former co-workers.
"I don’t want to say anything bad about them because they’re part of the reason why I think this world is so interesting," he said. "They’re very interesting, intriguing and bizarre characters, and I’m thankful for weird people out there. They’re some of the most creative people."
Matthew McConaughey, Adam Rodriquez, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer also star in Magic Mike, which hits theaters Friday.