Yesterday afternoon, news broke that Thandiwe Newton was exiting Magic Mike’s Last Dance, filming now in Britain, for “personal reasons” and that Salma Hayek would replace her. The official statement released by Warner Brothers, the studio bankrolling Last Dance, said that Newton “made the difficult decision to step away […] to deal with family matters.” That’s a drastic decision given that cameras have been rolling for over a week, but okay, life happens and sometimes it’s serious and you have to drop everything and go where you’re needed, seems like they could just rearrange her filming schedule to accommodate her, but Warner Brothers has been messy as hell these last few years, and they’re just through ANOTHER merger, maybe someone dropped the ball and Newton needs to bounce and no one could cover it, and now they’re out probably millions and it seems kind of weird and expensive…
The Sun is reporting that Newton didn’t leave for “personal reasons” but because she and franchise star and producer Channing Tatum got into a damn fight about The Slap, which ended with Tatum zooming away in his car, and Newton leaving the production altogether. What in the Hollywood curses hell?! I know the source is dodgy, so take it with a grain of salt, but The Sun is citing “freelance crew” and the details in their story do sound like they came from set, no second or third-hand office gossip. Their anonymous source says Newton and Tatum had “a tense exchange of words, but suddenly it escalated - Channing got into this car and he disappeared. People looked at each other and thought, ‘Wait, we’re supposed to be filming’.”
This went down on set in Paddington Bear’s London. (As if we needed more proof that we need Paddington 3 in the world RIGHT THE F-CK NOW.) Channing Tatum, the star and producer of the movie, got in his car mid-shoot and just. Left. He left! How bad was this fight?! Like, define “unimaginably vicious”, clarify the “astonishing levels” that this fight reached. Fill in some blanks, anonymous crew! Were they arguing about The Slap itself, or Zoe Kravitz’s response to it? Both? How sh-t were the takes? Who had the worse take and why does my gut say CTates?
Eleven entire days of principal photography are now wasted, this is an enormously expensive upset. Like, millions of dollars down the drain, between the days of now-redundant labor, whatever Salma Hayek is charging Warner Brothers to come in at the thirteenth hour, and whatever it will cost to pay out Newton’s contract. A spokesperson for Newton denied to the Daily Mail that she left because of a row with Channing Tatum, but…this is just SUCH an expensive mid-stream shift. If she had a personal thing going on, it would be cheaper to do everything possible to accommodate her, such as rearranging her shooting schedule, but not stop overall production and burn the footage already shot.
They’re basically starting the movie over from scratch, which is like setting money on fire. You’d do everything possible, including offering everything possible to accommodate Thandiwe’s schedule, to avoid scrapping the eleven days of footage already shot and thus wasting that money. But having to recast and reshoot nearly two weeks into production possibly, allegedly because the two leads had a huge fight and can no longer work together? That makes a certain kind of impecunious sense. The Slap just won’t go away. Now it’s poisoning film sets on an entire other continent a whole ass ocean away. What’s next in this never-ending hell story?