Channing Tatum may be feverishly shedding his clobber in upcoming celluloid beefcake bonanza Magic Mike, but that's as far as any ripping off goes.
The Hollywood hunk has hit back at claims by two former male strippers that he stole their stories for his upcoming film with director Steven Soderbergh.
Thomas "Awesome" Austin and London Steele - who both worked with Tatum during his pre-Hollywood stripper days in Florida - told TMZ last week that the film drew heavily from their own lives.
The pair - who said they felt "betrayed by the actor for not involving any of them in the film" - also accused Tatum of ripping off special dance moves used in the film, including the "Hot Seat," which Austin claimed he invented.
Describing Tatum as an "amateur" during the brief time they worked together, he said: "He only danced for four months. How many events could have happened to him?"
However, Tatum, who also produced the movie, has since rubbished their accusations.
"Those guys have been trying to make money off of me since I got into this business," Tatum told a press conference to promote the movie over the weekend.
"Look, there's nothing that's factual in this whole movie other than that I was an 18-year-old kid and went into this world and I dropped out of college from playing football and was living on my sister's couch," he said.
"There's not one character that I took from my real life; this is just a world that I went into, and I had a perspective on. And we created everything from a fictional place."
Tatum also claimed that Steele was responsible for leaking a video in 2009 that showed him working as a stripper.
"Literally, London was one of the guys that sold the video," he said. "Thank God that my friend here [Soderbergh] saw it and we made a movie from it."
But Tatum insisted he bore no ill will towards his former stripper pals.
"I don't want to say anything bad about them because they're part of the reason why I think this world is so interesting," he said.
"They're very interesting, intriguing and bizarre characters, and I'm thankful for weird people out there. They're some of the most creative people."
In an interview with MTV News, Tatum dished that the movie came to be after a conversation he had with Soderbergh.
"I'd been doing it for eight months of my life when I was, like, 18 or 19, and he said, 'We gotta make a movie out of that.' And I was like, 'Why? Why do we need to do that?'
"And he said, 'I've never seen that world on film before.' And then we really started talking about that, and we thought it would be really hilarious but still grounded in reality."
Meanwhile, more footage of Tatum as a male stripper in the late '90's has surfaced.
A clip, obtained by scandal sheet TMZ, shows a shirtless Tatum (clad in a hula skirt) busting some seriously rusty moves to the YMCA.
Check it out below:
Matthew McConaughey, who stars in the flick alongside Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello, recently revealed that the most difficult part of making the movie wasn't the dancing.
"It's a huge leap of faith to trust a thong," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's your only protection up on stage. When I first tried it on, my body contorted. And I tried to get myself into every position to see what angles I was covered."
He's a braver man than I am.
Watch the trailer for Magic Mike below:
Magic Mike hits New Zealand cinemas on July 26.
- Blogger Bites BackBy Myrddin Gwynedd @ohthatwelshguy Email Myrddin