Magic Mike XXL movie hits close to home for Tampa man

It's the opening weekend for the movie, Magic Mike XXL, and the film hits close to home for a software company vice president in Tampa.

Adam Martingano is a close friend of the film's star, Channing Tatum. The two met when they were 20-year-old male entertainers.

"I played soccer at USF for my first year and I heard an ad on the radio that was looking for male entertainers," Martingano said. "It was just one of those fluke meetings: he went, I went."

Martingano and Tatum were the two youngest members of a group of male strippers who were mostly in the 30's.

"Everybody was a little bit older and, for us, it was just fun and games," he said.

The two quickly formed a bond that lasted long after Tatum ditched the small stage for the big screen in Hollywood.

"When I first met Chan I knew that we were going to be close," Martingano said. "He's a good, caring person, a great dad, an excellent husband and an awesome friend for years."

In 2012, Tatum launched the Magic Mike franchise, which is loosely based on his life as a male entertainer in Tampa.

The friendship and relationship between Tatum and Martingano became an inspiration for two of the main characters in the franchise: Mike and Adam, played by Alex Pettyfer.

"There's a little bit of Chan and a little bit of me in both of the characters," Martingano said. "A lot of the bonding scenes that happened were actually real things that took place."

That includes one particular scene from the first film.

"There's a scene where... Mike and Adam in the movie are actually sitting on a gutter pipe out in Tampa getting ready to jump off a bridge into the water, just playing around, and they kind of make a joke saying, 'hey, we should be best friends,'" he said. "I vividly remember that conversation sitting in the front of Chan's old S-10 pickup."

Martingano said he knew the movies would be popular, but never imagined this kind of worldwide success.

"It's nice to see it unfold and I'm glad that a couple years ago when the story came out and they were trying to spin it as something negative that [Tatum], as always, just rolled with it and made it into what it is today, which is a huge multi-million dollar franchise that came from just a fun experience when we were 19 or 20 years old," he said.

Martingano is now married and works at MatchWare Inc. in Tampa. He said his years as a male entertainer have helped shape him into who he is today.

"It gives you that confidence to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want," he said.

As for Magic Mike XXL? He's already seen it and thinks movie-goers will love it.

"This is like a guy's road trip movie, but geared for women," Martingano said. "It's kind of nice. The comedy is there for the guys because they've all done this type of thing, they've all been on road trips and things like that. But, of course, the women get to see the bodies and the dancing and it should be pretty good."