The actor tells EW why he wanted to dance to Backstreet Boys’ "I Want It That Way" for the iconic scene.

By Devan Coggan
May 18, 2020 at 02:33 PM EDT
Magic Mike XXL
Credit: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros.
  • Movie

The theaters may be empty and the popcorn machines may be lying dormant, but it's still summer movie season — which is why we're looking back on classic moments from years past, as part of EW's Retro Summer. From improvised dance moves to awkward lip-locks, here are the behind-the-scenes tales from a few of our favorite hot-weather hits. 

Of the many dance showcases in Magic Mike XXL, none is as joyous (or uses Cheetos as memorably) as Joe Manganiello’s minimart seduction.

Gregory Jacobs' raucous road-trip comedy follows a group of male strippers (including Manganiello, Channing Tatum, and Matt Bomer) as they journey to a Myrtle Beach convention in a dingy fro-yo truck. Along the way, they dare Manganiello's Richie to try to coax a smile from an unflappable cashier, which results in Richie writhing and twirling to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” The soundtrack choice was actually suggested by the actor himself after he attended a screening of Stephen Kijak's Backstreet Boys documentary and went to dance rehearsal with the song stuck in his head.

“That song is one of those songs where guys won’t admit it, but if it comes on the radio, the windows roll up and you’re sitting in your car [singing],” he tells EW with a laugh. "You don't want anybody to know, but you could sing it."

Most of the scene was meticulously choreographed — Manganiello likes to think that growing up, Richie spent hours trying to teach himself the original BSB choreography — but when it was time to film, the actor improvised a few significant additions (including that squirting water bottle). He also made sure to keep rehearsals secret from his fellow actors, so their on-set reactions would be as realistic and gleeful as possible.

“Everything was a big swing for the fence,” he says. “Especially that scene, you really had to be willing to, number one, not take yourself too seriously, and number two, look like an ass in order to pull that thing off.”

For more from Entertainment Weekly’s celebration of summer’s best pop culture, order the June issue now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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Magic Mike XXL

2015 movie
  • Movie
  • R
  • 115 minutes
  • Gregory Jacobs