Magic Mike XXL picks up the story of “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) three years down the line. After finding out that former boss Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) had abandoned his former friends, Mike teams up with the rest of the Kings of Tampa to end their careers as strippers on top. Along the way, the guys can’t help but meet some beautiful women, with Amanda Heard playing Zoe, a photographer that Mike falls for. Daytime Emmy winner Crystal Hunt plays her friend, Lauren, who is the romantic interest of Matt Bomer’s character, Ken.
Interestingly, her CrunchBase lists that Hunt and Bomer had appeared on screen together previously as co-stars on Guiding Light. Bomer played the volatile gigolo Ben Reade, who Hunt’s character, Lizzie Spaulding, inadvertently sent to his death by telling him where his estranged lover, Marina, was located. While there Guiding Light characters were never involved, there is no doubt this prior experience together contributed to their on-screen chemistry in Magic Mike XXL.
While her role as Lizzie Spaulding won her an Emmy, Guiding Light is not the only soap opera experience that Hunt brings to the table as a love interest; she played the role of Stacy Morasco on One Life to Live, originally for a year from 2009 to 2010, before appearing in some flashbacks in 2011 and finally for the finale week of the long-running series in 2012 all shown on the Internet Movie Database. Deepening the Magic Mike connection, Hunt’s character, Stacy, worked as a stripper on One Life to Live. It is unknown if Crystal Hunt gave Channing Tatum and the rest of her co-stars any tips based off of her previous role, but the role-reversal must have been fun!
Other pleasant casting surprises were Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, playing a rapper who works at the strip club owned by Rome, played by Jada Plinkett Smith (The Matrix, Madagascar). Whatever star power the franchise may have lost with the departure of Matthew McConaughey was certainly made up for by the strong casting of new roles in Magic Mike XXL.