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Why Is Adam Not In Magic Mike XXL?

It goes without saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. If you need further convincing of that age-old adage, look no further than the "Magic Mike" movies. At first glance, one might assume they're all about titillation, stripping, and general sauciness. However, probe deeper and you'll find two smart, funny, and nuanced movies about chasing the proverbial American dream. 

"Magic Mike" was partly inspired by star Channing Tatum's own experiences as an erotic dancer prior to becoming a Hollywood megastar, making him a natural fit for the titular role. That being said, the first "Magic Mike" is just as memorable for Alex Pettyfer's performance as Adam, a.k.a. "The Kid." Adam is a college dropout who starts dancing to make ends meet, only to end up embracing the lifestyle's most excessive qualities. The character is arguably the most fascinating in the entire flick, as he represents ideas such as the blue-collar struggle and millennial disillusionment. 

Despite being a central part of the story in the first film, Adam doesn't feature in the 2015 sequel, "Magic Mike XXL." Most of Pettyfer's costars returned to reprise their roles, so why didn't he join them? Prepare for some drama.

Alex Pettyfer had some tension and misunderstandings with the cast

While Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum's on-screen chemistry in "Magic Mike" suggests that they were good buddies behind the scenes, they weren't really that friendly. While speaking on a podcast to author Bret Easton Ellis (per The Independent), Pettyfer revealed that he and his costar didn't get along when the cameras stopped rolling.

According to Pettyfer, Tatum didn't like the way he conducted himself on the set, though it appears to be mainly the fault of a misunderstanding. The actor explained, stating that "I was very insecure as a human being. That also gave me a bad rep because everyone was like, 'Alex doesn't speak because he thinks he's better than everyone else.' That's not true. I was just generally nervous and scared to be myself." The actor went on to reveal that he and Tatum also had a falling out over a financial dispute. Basically, Pettyfer was renting a house from a costar's friend while filming the movie and missed a payment. This led to a heated email exchange between the pair, which only soiled their relationship further. 

Adam and Mike went their separate ways on-screen in "Magic Mike," which explains the former's absence from a storyline perspective. However, it seems that Pettyfer has some unfinished business with the character. 

The actor actually wanted to return to Magic Mike

The fallout between Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum makes it seem like it was a completely negative experience for the former while making "Magic Mike." However, that wasn't the case at all. Pettyfer actually fell in love with the character of Adam and made efforts to return to the role.

In an interview with Screen Rant, the actor said that he pitched some ideas to director Steven Soderbergh regarding Adam, including one which would have seen the college dropout turned erotic dancer play a gigolo. "I always wanted The Kid to come to England or somewhere and kind of have an American gigolo kind of story, obviously [like] Richard Gere," referring to the 1980 film, "American Gigolo."

It remains to be seen if we'll ever get to see an Adam-centric spinoff set overseas, but here's hoping that Pettyfer returns in the third "Magic Mike" movie, which was announced in late November and will premiere exclusively on HBO Max sometime in the future. The next movie vows to be Magic Mike's last hurrah (for now), and Tatum has promised fans that "the stripperverse will never be the same."