Channing Tatum says he starved himself for ‘Magic Mike’

Tatum gave the world a bit of insight into what it actually takes to look like Mike and, spoiler, it’s “not natural.”

Magic Mike Xxl 
 Adam Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Gabriel Iglesias

Channing Tatum’s body in Magic Mike is, to put it in medical terms, crazy. The franchise, which began in 2012 and is roughly based on Tatum’s own experiences before making it in Hollywood, has always used a series of obscenely taut men to sell itself. Now, Tatum is giving the world a bit of insight into what it actually takes to look that way and, spoiler, it’s “not natural.” In a segment on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the pretend Chippendale talked about his hesitation in signing on to the third installment of the series, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, because the diet and training regimen is unhealthy.

As Kelly fawned over a picture of Tatum in character, the actor seemed almost embarrassed. “That might be the reason that I didn’t want to do a third one, it’s because I have to look like that,” he said. “To be that kind of in shape is not natural.” Tatum also said he had to “starve” himself, and called the pre-filming diet “dangerous.” Clarkson made some cheeky jokes about how health is bad for you, but her daytime talk show tone didn’t hide the real underlying message that body image can be grossly distorted in Hollywood, and women aren’t the only people dealing with it.

In a relatable moment, Tatum also acknowledged that he doesn’t understand how us normies with 9 to 5 jobs stay in shape. Getting to that Magic Mike level, he said, is a full-time gig. It’s a refreshing sentiment that, while delivered casually, points to how insidious the unrealistic expectations created by these shape-shifting roles can be. Audiences see physiques that literally take months of 24/7 dedication and teams of expensive trainers and nutritionists to achieve, and it warps our perceptions of health and bodies in general. From Tatum’s reaction to discussing the issue, it’s clearly taken a toll on him as well. But that’s not going to keep him off the pole. Magic Mike’s Last Dance has yet to announce a release date, but it is officially coming to a sexy screen near you soon.