Cody Horn knows that you’re coming to the Steven Soderbergh-directed Magic Mike to watch some hot men strip, and that puts her in a bit of a bind: Her character, Brooke, is the one who’s trying to convince her brother Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and her potential love interest Mike (Channing Tatum) to stop peeling off their clothes for money. In real life, though, Horn has a much more liberal attitude toward her co-stars getting naked and silly: She loves it. She told Vulture what it was like to watch those strip-club scenes, how Olivia Munn got into her head, and what it’s like to go into acting when her father, Alan Horn, is a major studio head.
What did you think when you saw the movie for the first time?
I saw it about a month ago and I thought it was great. All these guys sort of jumped off the deep end and Steven caught them, I feel. They really committed 110 percent of themselves to it, and I obviously wasn’t one of the strippers, so it must be scary to get up there and get naked since it’s on-camera and people are going to see it. But with that said, I don’t think any of us realized that this little art-house film that we were making was all of a sudden going to be picked up by this huge studio and turned into the snowball it’s turned into. Steven said today, “I can’t believe I’m having a press conference about a stripper movie. What are we doing here?” It’s really hard to be serious about it … but of course, that’s my role in the movie.
Exactly. Your character is the one who’s trying to convince Channing Tatum not to strip. You realize that will make you the enemy of many audience members, right?
I’m waiting for death threats, honestly. [Laughs.] I’m going to hire security, and, you know, go hole up in Montana or something because I’m afraid that women are going to come at me with guns and knives.
When your character comes to the strip club for the first time, obviously she’s feeling a whole lot of complicated things. But when you, Cody Horn, came there and you were watching Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum do these dances, what were you feeling?
It was very not complicated. It was very straightforward: This is hot. [Laughs.] And look, Channing is such an unbelievable dancer that you’re kind of awestruck for a second. No one moves like that. I feel like all of a sudden, to have that dance ability in a film now must have been what working with Fred Astaire was like back then. He’s so talented. I’m proud of him.
Had you gotten to see them rehearse their dance routines prior to that part of the shoot, or was that scene the first time you’d gotten to see them do their thing?
That was the first time. Steven didn’t let me see them before the day that my character was seeing them. I wasn’t allowed to go to any of the rehearsals or anything, so it was very surprising. I really had no idea what to expect, so it was great.
Your character is so fiercely protective of her brother. What’s the backstory there?
Alex and I had a dinner, and over the course of dinner, we kind of came up with the story: For whatever reason, they have a really terrible relationship with their parents, so Brooke sort of becomes the mother to Adam. And then the other thing is that Brooke had a wild past like that herself. Not quite to the level that Adam did, but whether it was dating the wrong guy or being rebellious and drinking and partying, you can fill in the blank however you want. She’s been there, so when she sees Adam going through it, she knows that if he jumps off the deep end, he might not come back.
In that scene where Olivia Munn is flirting with Brooke and pointing out her tattoos, I wondered if that was an allusion to some wild past. I assume those tattoos are the character’s. They’re not yours?
Those are actually mine. [Laughs.] But we left them in. Olivia wanted to find some way to make my character really uncomfortable, because she thinks my character is a toy for them to play with. I’m sure I’d also be reacting differently [in real life] if Olivia Munn was touching me like that.
I saw you on Craig Ferguson the other night. Was that your first late-night appearance?
It was! It was my first late-night appearance on a talk show. I make late-night appearances in life, at bars, but yeah, it was. It was really fun.
At one point, you cursed on air and they put a flag over your mouth in postproduction.
I think I said the word shit. My parents don’t really swear very much, and I asked them what they thought of the show and I totally forgot that I did that. It wasn’t until after I saw it where I was like, Oh man, they must have been holding back. I can’t believe they didn’t say anything. I’m so sorry. Why can’t I just do one thing that I can show to my little cousins or something? Really! Can’t I do something clean here?
Your father, Alan Horn, is a studio head who’s leaving Warner Bros for Disney. When you grow up with a dad in the entertainment business and you tell him you want to act, does he encourage you or does he try to dissuade you?
I think the relationship I have with him is just a fantastic father-daughter relationship, and I’m very lucky to have that, first and foremost. Truthfully, the thing that he said to me was that there’s a lot of rejection that comes with being an actor and he wondered why I didn’t go into something where I wouldn’t face as much rejection. That was his biggest concern. But he’s mostly supportive, as a good parent is, and I’m thankful for that.
Now that he’s taken over Disney, are you going to be hitting up Disneyland for free every day?
My mouse ears still haven’t come in the mail. And I know a guy!