While adoring fans screamed praises at Thursday’s Magic Mike XXL Hollywood premiere, Sofia Vergara and fiance Joe Manganiello didn’t receive a warm welcome from pro-life protestors, who walked Hollywood Boulevard flashing signs like “Embryo Defense” and “Persons Not Property.”
The protest stems from Vergara’s controversial decision not to bring her frozen embryos — fertilized by ex-fiance Nick Loeb — to term.
Loeb — who is suing the Modern Family actress over her refusal — penned a New York Times op-ed in April, arguing that she shouldn’t destroy her frozen embryos despite their break-up.
Fans screaming for Tatum, Manganiello and the rest of the cast’s male eye candy were intertwined with fans of pro-life holding up additional signs reading “Sofia: Unfreeze your daughters. Unfreeze your heart” and “Lives created should be lives protected.” Vergara’s star on the walk of fame has also been vandalized with the words #EmbryoDefense.
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Manganiello refused to comment on the scene when questioned by reporters on the carpet.
Meanwhile, Channing Tatum took the conversation in a different direction, telling reporters he’d like to see an all-female version of Magic Mike in the future: “I would like for the women of the world to go write what they think a female Magic Mike version would be and I would be open ears.”
Screenwriter Reid Carolin suggested that Jada Pinkett-Smith would be in his top three if there was a potential female spin on the film, but Tatum, who walked the carpet with wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum, was hesitant to agree.
“I’m going to have to meet Will Smith one day and I got to look him in the face, and I’m not going to say that,” said Tatum. “He’s going to be like I’m sorry you want to see my wife do what? We all know Jada would be running the club and not doing the thing.”
And that’s just what Jada Pinkett Smith does in the steamier sequel to the male stripper film. Smith, who plays a sexually-charged club owner, said she was intrigued when Tatum asked her to join the cast because he wanted to “bring a sense of responsibility to the platform of adult entertainment.”
“It was always like, ‘Should we have adult entertainment?’ ” Smith told The Hollywood Reporter. “The real deal is we are going to have adult entertainment like always. It’s never going to go anywhere so we might as well step it up. We might as well bring celebration, respect and responsibility.”
Matt Bomer reprises his role as pretty boy Ken who was convinced by Tatum to showcase his singing skills. The actor expressed that XXL means the men are no longer sticking with the traditional routines they know but are really looking to bringing their own personality into their revamped dance moves that had “no boundaries.”
“We’ve all seen the firemen,” Bomer told THR. “Somebody owned that already. It’s time to bring your most authentic self to the table and make sure you’re listening to what the women want as well. It’s also about just taking stigmas and shame and getting judgment off sexuality, sexual expression all those things. I’m always a fan of that.”
Smith continued the party with co-stars Donald Glover and Andie MacDowell in the parking lot of the El Capitan theater which was transformed into a Magic Mike black-light lounge, complete with male dancers who performed numbers for the crowd as they were lead on stage by the film’s choreographer.
Tatum says it’s fun to see the world’s reaction to the franchise based on his days of being a stripper before his acting career skyrocketed, but he dished on the next film that he’s waiting to see.
“There is a parody porn out there which I am so excited to see,” joked Tatum. “I am more excited almost to see that than I am to see this tonight.”
Magic Mike XXL hits theaters July 1.
The Real D and Andie MacDowell pose after the performance by the male dancers at the film’s after party. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros./AP Images)