The surprise hit of 2012, Magic Mike was loosely based on Channing Tatum's early career as a stripper. And he was happy to return to the story for 'Magic Mike XXL'. "My biggest regret in the first film was that we didn't get to live with the guys more," he says. "I had never worked with any of them. I liked their work, but we wrote them very thin in the first draft of the first movie. They came in and did so much. They all just jumped in, just all the way in."

The cast of 'Magic Mike XXL'Channing Tatum enjoyed returning to the franchise

So Tatum and his writing-producing partner Reid Carolin re-assembled the troops to explore the characters in a group bromance that never felt like work. "It's a fun group," Tatum says. "We all just love each other on such a real level, and that's part of the story. It's one of the things that they learn. At the end of the day they have each other and their experiences."

Watch the trailer for 'Magic Mike XXL' here:

Taking the sequel's title from internet buzz ("XXL looks very visual, instead of just a 2"), Tatum and his co-stars looked forward to giving fans more of what they wanted while fleshing out the characters, as it were. "We're not in it for the shock value," he says. "We're in it to be entertaining. You want to go over to the edge, put your toe over and give people something they didn't know they wanted, and then pull it back. I find it so funny: it's a movie about guys being guys, but it's made for women. It's such a strange alchemy."

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At 35, Tatum is riding high with franchise hits like Magic Mike, 22 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, plus critically acclaimed work in last year's Foxcatcher more than making up for box office duds like Jupiter Ascending. He also has a 2-year-old daughter with his wife Jenna Dewan. "I've had way more luck than most people deserve," he says. "I'm just the luckiest guy! Having a family and a little girl, it really makes things super clear."

More: Read our review of 'Magic Mike XXL'

And when asked when he'll tell his daughter about his stripping alter-ego, he jokes, "We're just going to keep her in it, keep her around the world so she never has to ask the question. There are strippers everywhere!"