Feature documentary La Bare (screening Friday, June 6th at Celestial Cinema at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf Course) takes a candid look at life as a male exotic dancer – both on and offstage – at La Bare Dallas, one of the world’s most popular dance clubs. This wild and engaging documentary marks the directorial debut of Joe Manganiello, who produces and directs alongside his brother Nick Manganiello, who also produces.
Joe played “Big Dick Richie” in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, a fiction modeled on the men of La Bare Dallas. After the success of Magic Mike, Manganiello teamed up with younger brother Nick (who runs his big brother’s production company) to shoot some footage at the famed venue for a would-be reality television show. Instead though they opted to make it into a feature-length doc.
In addition to introducing his documentary on Maui, Joe will also be presented with the festival’s Triple Threat Award on Friday, June 6th at 10pm, which honors “a multi-talented artist who brilliantly juggles three major roles—director, actor, producer in the creation of narrative and documentary projects.”
We connected with Joe and Nick before their trip to Maui to screen their film at the 2014 Maui Film Festival. Let’s hear more about how this project came about.
Q: How did your film LA BARE come to be?
Nick: It was the first project we discussed when we started our company, and the pieces came together in a way we couldn’t have scripted. We were in the right place at the right time and knew how to capture it.
Joe: While I was preparing for MAGIC MIKE, I had heard wild stories about this crazy club in Dallas from an old friend of mine who stripped there in the 90s. The differences in male and female fantasies as they manifest themselves in a male strip club (as opposed to a female strip club), coupled with what I heard about Randy “Master Blaster”, sold me that there was something at this particular club worth exploring. But we never in a million years could have expected to find the goldmine that we did once we started rolling the camera.
Q: What was the most challenging thing about making this film?
Nick: We’re a small shop, so the workload at times was daunting, but we knew we had something special and that was the driving force.
Joe: There was some healthy fear involved in breaking the #1 cardinal rule of filmmaking, “don’t gamble with your own money”. Especially on your first film as a producer/director. But like Nick said, we believed in ourselves and powered ahead at the urging of good friends whose opinions mattered to us, namely Steven Soderbergh and Elvis Mitchell. With that said, the biggest challenges came once the artistic side was done and the film was completed….which I’m actually thinking should be the subject of my next book.
Q: What do you hope LA BARE will do for people?
Nick: We want to make people look at things differently, especially a taboo subject like male stripping. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Joe: Nick’s right. People have misperceptions like I once did about male entertainment. The most often heard comment I get from must about everyone who has seen the film is “it’s not what I expected”. We can’t wait to get the film out to the public because it’s going to open eyes and start discussions at restaurants after and in car rides home. At it’s core, its about this place where women can let go of the strains and difficulties of living in society and let some men (who know things that every man should know) go to work and make them happy.
Q: What do you think our Maui audiences will appreciate about your film?
Nick: There’s something for everyone.
Joe: It makes people laugh and it makes people cry. So do like “Channing” and “J.D.” do in the opening shot: buckle up, ‘cause it’s a ride!
The Featured Filmmaker series is coordinated and written by the Maui Film Festival’s Filmmaker Liaison and Social Media Director Sara Tekula. Click here to see all of the Featured FIlmmaker posts and be sure follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get live updates from the festival.