Why Matt Bomer Didn't Notice Tension Between Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum on Magic Mike Set

"I was a little nervous about what I was wearing at the time, so maybe I wasn't noticing these undercurrents," he says

By Zach Johnson Jul 28, 2017 11:55 AMTags
Matt Bomer, Watch What Happens LiveCharles Sykes/Bravo

Ignorance is bliss, as Matt Bomer realized Thursday night.

During an appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen to promote his new Amazon series, The Last Tycoon, a viewer called in to ask Bomer about the on-set tension between his Magic Mike co-stars Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum. It's been six years since the three actors starred in the stripper flick, so it's possible Bomer's memory was a little foggy.

So, did he recall any awkward moments? "Truth be told, no," said Bomer, who played an exotic dancer named Ken. "On set in the first film, everybody was really professional. Channing is one of the most fun people I've ever worked with; he set a great tone. They both came to work on time, did great work, and there was never any undercurrent of tension that I witnessed." But that doesn't mean it didn't happen. "I was a little nervous about what I was wearing at the time," the actor said of his skimpy wardrobe, "so maybe I wasn't noticing these undercurrents."

Stars Playing Strippers

Rumors of a rift between Pettyfer and Tatum first circulated in 2012, when Us Weekly reported that the latter star—who produced the movie and loosely based it off his own experiences as a male stripper—"hates" Pettyfer and thought his co-star acted like "a diva" on set. A source told the tabloid the actors "had massive fights," adding, "Alex was a jerk to everyone during filming for no reason. He thinks he's the star of the movie, not Channing or Matthew McConaughey."

The co-stars appeared cordial during their press tour in the summer of 2012, but eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that Pettyfer would not be reprising his role as Adam in Magic Mike XXL. In November 2015, four months after the sequel was released in theaters, Pettyfer confirmed that he didn't love being on the set of Magic Mike. "I was scared to speak," he said in Bret Easton Ellis' podcast interview. "I actually did my work, and I sat in the corner and listened to music because I had been told that anything that I do was wrong by my reps."

Given Pettyfer's reputation as a bad boy, Tatum—who invested his own money into the film—saw hiring him as a risk. "I had a very negative past relating to the things that I had done on movies and promotion of movies," he said. "Channing is an extraordinarily smart businessman. I think he probably didn't want to get into a conflict with [Steven Soderbergh] and so I was cast."

At the time of filming, Pettyfer felt "very insecure" in general. "That also gave me a bad rep because they said, 'Alex thinks he's f--king better than anyone else because he doesn't speak to anyone.' That's not true," the actor said. 'I was just genuinely nervous and scared to be myself." Pettyfer confirmed that Tatum did not like him, "for many reasons—many being my own fault."

Magic Mike XXL Movie Pics

After the movie wrapped, he rented an apartment in New York owned by a friend of Tatum's. Pettyfer left shortly after he arrived, claiming that dust allergies and mold made it difficult for him to breathe. When he left, he stilled owed four months of back rent. In hindsight, Pettyfer wishes he would have paid—but the actor's cousin died suddenly and he forgot to pay the rent.

"I all of a sudden got a very negative email from Channing, rightfully so, saying, 'Don't f--k my friends. You owe money. Pay the f--king money. Don't be a clown.'" According to Pettyfer, "I really took that the wrong way, which I shouldn't have. I e-mailed him back saying, 'I'm in a negative head space. Can you respect me for a moment?' And I just got hounded through this time of grieving for money." So, Pettyfer said he ultimately decided not to pay Tatum's friends.

"By the end of it I just basically said, 'F--k them. What is money when life is so much more?' and, 'I'm not dealing with this, and I'm not paying.' I should have just paid. I think he was looking for an excuse to not like me," Pettyfer said. When he returned for Magic Mike reshoots, he felt as if Tatum iced him out. "He had already told everyone he didn't like me, and what Channing says goes, because he's a movie star. He's incredible. He's done so well for himself."

Tatum, for his part, has not spoken about his issues with Pettyfer in interviews.

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