By Adam Markovitz
May 21, 2012 at 04:57 PM EDT

In case you haven’t heard yet, Magic Mike (out June 29) was inspired by star Channing Tatum’s old career as a stripper. So when EW got Tatum and his cast mates Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Matt Bomer together for this week’s cover story , we asked if anybody else had a pre-fame job that might make a good Steven Soderbergh movie.

Everyone shared their best odd jobs (Bomer worked on a gas pipeline; McConaughey spent a wild year in Australia), but it was True Blood star Manganiello who had the entire table engrossed with his showstopping story about his craziest before-he-was-famous gig. In fact, he told it so perfectly that we’ve decided to share the whole thing, barely edited, right here.

When I was 16 years old, a friend called me up in a panic. She used to book these promotional jobs, and she said, “We had a guy cancel last minute. Can you please step in?” And I said, “Okay, sure. What do you want me to do?” She goes, “Well, we’ll pay you $25 an hour,” — when you’re 16, I mean s–t — “And when you get here, if anyone asks how old you are, just say you’re 21.”

So I had my mom drive me down because I didn’t have a license. She drops me off, and I go in, and there’s this group of adults, and this guy turns to me and goes, “You’re the guy?” And I go, “Oh, yeah.” And he goes, “How old are you?” And I go, “21.” So he says, “Put this on.” And he hands me this pirate suit: the wig, the eyepatch, the beard, the ruffles, the sword, the cape. And I’m gonna go be Captain Morgan at a couple of bars. And he goes, “These are your two wenches.” And it’s these hot college girls. And they gave me this tank, this backpack that they strapped on, and they filled it with rum, and it had a tap on it, and they were like, ‘Go get everybody drunk.’

I’m 16, so I’m a little timid. I’m just worried about going to jail. So at the first bar, I was kind of scared. But then the girls were like, “Come over here!” And we all started drinking off the tap. By the time [we got to] the second or the third bar, one of the bars had those cowboy doors. And by then I was f–king lit, and I was feeling it. So I kick those cowboy doors in and I go, “AAARRRGH!” And the whole bar full of adults turns and goes, “AAARRRGH!” And it was on. I’m leaning on the bar, squirting [the rum] in their mouths, squirting it in mine. I was singing Marilyn Manson covers with the band by the end.

The problem was that Seagrams called the next day. And I thought, “We’re all dead. We’re all going to jail.” But they said they didn’t want to do the promotion unless I was Captain Morgan. They loved me. So I got this guy’s ID who was 10 years older than me, and I was Captain Morgan in Pittsburgh from 16 to 21.

Tatum’s response? “Dude, if Soderbergh won’t make that? I’ll make that.”

For more from the Magic Mike stars, check out this exclusive behind-the-scenes video from our cover shoot, EW’s exclusive photo gallery, and pick up your copy of the issue in print or on your tablet device today.

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This week’s cover: Channing Tatum and the cast of ‘Magic Mike’ in a nakedly honest interview