By Josh Rottenberg
Updated April 29, 2011 at 09:28 PM EDT
Dear John Channing Tatum
Credit: Scott Garfield

Looks like Steven Soderbergh isn’t quite ready for the gold watch after all. Earlier this year, the famed director of films like sex lies and videotape, Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich, and Oceans 11 vowed that he would retire from filmmaking after finishing two final projects on his plate: Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and a potential big-screen reboot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with George Clooney. “For the last three years, I’ve been turning down everything that comes my way,” Soderbergh told NPR in March. “You’re not gonna have Steven Soderbergh to kick around anymore.” Well, apparently he found one more project too appealing to turn down: Soderbergh has signed on to direct Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, a project based on Tatum’s real-life experiences working as a male stripper at age 19. Tatum, who recently completed the film Haywire with Soderbergh, will play a veteran stripper who mentors a younger newbie.

“When Channing talked to me about this, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard for a movie,” Soderbergh said in a statement. “I said I wanted in immediately. It’s sexy, funny and shocking. We’re using Saturday Night Fever as our model, so hopefully we’re on the right track.” Tatum (pictured, from Dear John), who has been developing the passion project for a while now, said in a statement, “This was a wild and pivotal time in my life and I couldn’t be more thrilled to go down the rabbit hole with Steven.” The two plan to start shooting this fall, after which Soderbergh will turn to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Liberace. And then he will retire… unless, of course, he doesn’t.

Read more: