We’ve known for some time that Channing Tatum wanted to make a movie about a male stripper. (Stripping being something Tatum really did in his own past.) We were surprised, a couple weeks back, when Steven Soderbergh revealed that he would make the movie as one of his last few before retiring as a director, under the title Magic Mike. And now I don’t know what to think as Magic Mike has a co-star: Alex Pettyfer, who will play the film’s fictionalized version of a young Channing Tatum.

Deadline says “Pettyfer will play a young Tatum baring it all while Channing plays his older mentor.” Furthermore the site says ” Magic Mike is the story of a friendship set in the world of male strippers. Tatum plays the title character, who schools a young dancer (Pettyfer) in how to hustle on and off the stage. It’s a wild summer of dancing, partying, and women.” In other words: they’re not gay.

Reid Carolin is scripting now, and Saturday Night Fever has been referenced to describe the movie.

I love Steven Soderbergh, and have seen Channing Tatum in roles where I liked him a lot more than I would have expected to. But Alex Pettyfer knocks this back quite a ways for me — I don’t think there’s another young actor for whom I’ve developed such a specific distaste after only a couple of films. (In this case, Beastly and I Am Number Four, and some of the promotional interviews that went along with them.) Maybe he’ll come off a lot better in Andrew Niccol’s upcoming film In Time (formerly called Now) with Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake.

At the same time, Steven Soderbergh has been very open about his declining interest in directing, and so if he wants to make this movie I assume there is something pretty specific that caught his interest. Deadline says he has referred to the movie as “sexy, funny and shocking” though at this point the most shocking aspect is the idea of him directing Alex Pettyfer.

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