Salma Hayek Has Stepped In To Replace Thandiwe Newton In Magic Mike's Last Dance

Sadly, Thandiwe Newton won't be making movie magic (get it? 'Cause it's "Magic Mike" and magic and I definitely did not spend too much time thinking about this pun...) with Channing Tatum in the upcoming "Magic Mike's Last Dance." The "Westworld" and "All the Old Knives" star has dropped out of the third and final "Magic Mike" film, which had her playing what looks to be a substantial part as the movie's female lead. Her role has since been filled by Salma Hayek, who herself is coming off a busy 2021 in which she played the superhero Ajak in Marvel's "Eternals" and took a mud bath with Lady Gaga in "House of Gucci" (a scene that Hayek admitted she was "mortified" to film).

On a more serious note: Variety reports that Newton has declined to join Tatum's Michael Lane on his continuing misadventures in the world of male stripping for personal reasons. "Thandiwe Newton has made the difficult decision to step away from the production of Warner Bros. Pictures' Magic Mike's Last Dance to deal with family matters," a spokesperson for the studio informed the outlet. This news comes shortly on the heels of the film kicking off production in the U.K., with "Magic Mike" director Steven Soderbergh calling the shots from a script by "Magic Mike" and "Magic Mike XXL" scribe Reid Carolin. Soderbergh's longtime assistant director Gregory Jacobs, who helmed the second "Magic Mike" movie, is producing with Carolin, Nick Wechsler, and Peter Kiernan.

The Magic Mike movies are shifting genres again

The first "Magic Mike" movie was released in 2012 and was loosely inspired by Tatum's real-life experiences working as a male stripper prior to becoming an actor. It centers on Mike's efforts to mentor a protege (Alex Pettyfer) while securing the funding he needs to pursue his dream of making custom furniture for a living and leave behind the toxic workplace fostered by his greedy boss (Matthew McConaughey). 2015's "Magic Mike XXL," on the other hand, follows Mike and his former co-workers (sans Pettyfer and McConaughey's characters, who recently ditched them) on a wild road trip to a stripping convention in Myrtle Beach, giving them the chance to mend fences, end their careers on a high note, and, most importantly, perform improv stripper routines in gas stations.

Carolin has confirmed that "Magic Mike's Last Dance" will once again shift genres, previously telling /Film's Danielle Ryan:

"['Magic Mike's Last Dance' is] much different than the first two movies. Each movie is kind of its own genre, its own statement. This third one is much more like if you took 'Pretty Woman' and merged it with 'All That Jazz' or a Fred Astaire movie or something like that. I mean it's much different in tone. Central character is a woman, a really cool female character who, along with Mike, kind of creates the thrust of the movie that all takes place over in London..."

As much as I respect "Magic Mike" and unabashedly adore "Magic Mike XXL," I'm glad to hear that Tatum, Carolin, and Soderbergh are making a conscious effort to avoid repeating themselves with "Magic Mike's Last Dance" and keep things fresh. With a little luck (and Hayek's help), the movie will hopefully send their unexpected male stripper franchise out in style.

"Magic Mike's Last Dance" will premiere on HBO Max (and possibly select "Guymax" theaters) at an as-yet-unannounced date in the future.