Rumors Are Swirling About Thandiwe Newton, Channing Tatum, And Will Smith's Slap

According to The Sun, "Westworld" actor Thandiwe Newton will no longer star in the third installment of the male stripping franchise, "Magic Mike." Newton and Channing Tatum, the leading star of "Magic Mike's Last Dance," supposedly got into a heated argument about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars within the first days of filming the new blockbuster in London. The two actors reportedly became "unimaginably vicious" over the conversation, which led Newton to be replaced on the film in early April 2022. Smith and Newton starred in "The Pursuit of Happyness" together, IMDb noted.

Amid Newton's forced exit, Salma Hayek, is now cast as the main female lead in the third "Magic Mike" installment, reported Variety. On April 13, a spokesperson for the movie's production company said that Newton left on her own terms, having "made the difficult decision to step away from the production of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Magic Mike's Last Dance' to deal with family matters." However, initial reports claimed that Newton and Tatum's heated debate about the infamous Oscar smackdown led her to be fired, per The Sun.  

Let's look at what went into Newton and Tatum's fight on the set of "Magic Mike's Last Dance" that has everyone talking.

Inside Thandiwe Newton and Channing Tatum's 'tense' fight

Thandiwe Newton and Channing Tatum's argument about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock reportedly escalated to "astonishing" levels while on the set of "Magic Mike's Last Dance," per The Sun. The blockbuster's director, Steven Soderbergh, reportedly attempted to settle the situation before it got worse. But the "tense exchange of words" seemed unfixable, as Tatum supposedly "got into this car and he disappeared" while Newton was behaving like a "diva," a crew member added.

Before Tatum drove off in a car after the intense debate ended, a crew member of the "Magic Mike" sequel said the two "fell out over the debacle at The Oscars," reported The Sun. The film worker claimed they watched the two actors go "in and out of the house where we were filming having this confrontation." Other freelance workers alleged that they lost thousands of dollars because Newton and Tatum's fight followed with a delay in filming and recasting.

The British actor is now reportedly looking to sue the film's production company, Warner Bros., over the casting drama. But due to the on-set fight with Tatum, it's looking like her arrangement is "untenable," per The Sun.

Whose side were Newton and Tatum on?

According to The Sun, there hasn't been any confirmation on whether Channing Tatum was vying for Chris Rock or Will Smith when he was arguing with Thandiwe Newton while on the set of "Magic Mike's Last Dance" in early April. It's also not clear whose side Newton was on, although she and Smith had worked together before. 

Interestingly, Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who Rock made a joke out of on stage at the Oscars for sporting a bald hairstyle, co-starred with Tatum on the second "Magic Mike" film in 2015 as the owner of a strip club, reports Vanity Fair. While promoting the film at the time, Jada said it was actually Tatum who convinced her to star in the film "'I don't know where this is going to end up, Channing, but I'm gonna take this ride with you,'" she remembered thinking when she heard about the role, according to TODAY

We can't be certain whose side Tatum and Newton were on during their brutal conversation about the infamous Oscars slap, per The Sun. But it seems that Tatum had a clear vision from working as the executive producer of the blockbuster. In February, he told People the film is intended to be "very, very female-forward." 

Channing Tatum wants the last Magic Mike to be 'female-forward'

Channing Tatum's goal for "Magic Mike's Last Dance" was to incorporate a strong female lead, which is why Thandiwe Newton was originally cast in the blockbuster's third and final installment. "The first two movies were about men, and kind of weirdly made for women," he said during an interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" on February 17. "It should be told, at some point, through a female's perspective."

Tatum reiterated this again the same month. "I want to have an equal, if not even more centralized female character for Mike to really play off of and almost to," the actor confirmed to People. Tatum added that his intention was to "let the movie be about a female's experience and not Mike's experience because it has been so much about Mike and the guys' experiences." 

So it makes sense that even if Newton is out, they found another celebrated female actor to take on the role. This is why Academy Award nominee Salma Hayek was brought in as a replacement, cites Variety. Producers reportedly made the casting switch, although it's not clear if Tatum, as an executive producer, had the final say. We don't know too much about what the actual role will be, but the "22 Jump Street" actor has hinted that the third "Magic Mike" installment "isn't a traditional love story."