There has been lots of talk about Joe Manganiello and his new role of the werewolf, Alcide. Ever since we first heard that he was cast in the part, the fans have been a buzz with talk about him, his physique and his talent. He looks the part and seems that he is going to be a rival to Bill and Eric for the love of Sookie in Season 3.
A native of Mt. Lebanon, PA, Joe may have found a role that will make him a star. Since many of the True Blood cast were virtual unknowns before they were cast in the series, there’s no reason not to think that this won’t happen to Joe as well.
Below is a portion of an interview with the new werewolf that helps us to know him a bit better:
For many actors, their careers begin with journeyman work — a guest spot here, a recurring role there — and their breakout comes with a single role.
For Mt. Lebanon native Joe Manganiello, that role may have arrived in the form of the werewolf Alcide, a character who debuts Sunday on HBO’s “True Blood” (9 p.m.).
Mr. Manganiello, a 1995 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School and a 2000 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, previously played Flash Thompson in the “Spider-Man” movies. He’s had recurring roles on “How I Met Your Mother” and “One Tree Hill.” But Alcide is his highest profile part to date.
And, let’s face it, thanks to the “Twilight” movies and star Taylor Lautner, werewolves are a hot commodity.
” ‘True Blood’ as a whole delves a lot deeper than other supernatural shows or movies,” Mr. Manganiello said by phone earlier this month from Los Angeles. “It’s a lot richer, more character-driven. What’s interesting about this character to me is it really gets into the backstory. It gets into what it must have been like to grow up with this. He was a kid who was born with this thing that manifests itself around puberty, and you get an idea that he had to live as a recluse and hide and not let people know what he really is.
“The way I associate it is my father is left-handed, and he was born at a time where they would not allow children to be left-handed. All the kids were wired to be right-handed, and I thought about that a lot while I was on set working. I even made Alcide do certain things left-handed just to remind me to think that it’s a perfect parallel. This guy was born with this amazing ability but has to live in a society forcing him to not show that or be something else and try to fit in.”
In Sunday’s episode it appears Alcide will fit into the “True Blood” universe as part of what Mr. Manganiello calls “a love square.”
Alcide arrives as a bodyguard for Sookie (Anna Paquin), who is searching for her vampire beau Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Alcide is hired by Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), who has also had flirtations with Sookie, and it looks like Alcide and Sookie might have chemistry, too.
“There are different packs of werewolves, and they’re generally a very rough bunch,” Mr. Manganiello said. “Alcide is one who lives within society whereas some of the other werewolves don’t.”
In the role, Mr. Manganiello, who grew up playing football, basketball and volleyball, sports a wolfish beard and worked out at a hard pace for five months to pack on muscle.
“I wanted him to be built like an animal would,” he said. “I wanted the audience to look and see a physically strong creature.”
As a shapeshifter, Mr. Manganiello’s body will be on prominent display in some scenes when he’s naked after transforming from a wolf back to his human state. That meant an introduction to a new term: “the brotherhood of the sock.”
“You get into your trailer in the morning and there’s a sock with a drawstring, and then there’s a flesh-colored thing with a plastic thong back and the third choice is like this man-panty thing called ‘the manty’ that reduces you to a Ken doll. Depending on the angle of the shot, it determines which one you can use.”
Acting in the nude isn’t what Mr. Manganiello pictured as a career path when he was in high school. He was a self-described jock growing up who got into acting through work in Mt. Lebanon High School’s TV studio, borrowing cameras on the weekend and filming movies with friends.
“I was kind of an amateur filmmaker, and I figured if I took some acting classes I’d learn what this was all about and it would make my home movies better,” he said.
After a football injury he began thinking of other avenues to explore and opted not to return to the football field, instead following a path that sounds like a plot from “Glee.”
“The linebacker coach would stop me in the hall and say really snide comments to me because I wasn’t playing football anymore, and the volleyball coach told me I was making a huge mistake with my life,” Mr. Manganiello recalled. He auditioned for and won a role in a Mt. Lebanon production of “Oklahoma.” “After that the linebacker coach stopped me in the hall again and said, ‘I was wrong. You were really good.’ It was a victory.”
He tried out for Carnegie Mellon’s acting program his senior year of high school but didn’t get accepted, so he attended the University of Pittsburgh for a year, re-applied to CMU and got in.
Now he’s in on “True Blood” for the long haul unless producers of the premium TV hit change the trajectory of his character from how it exists in author Charlaine Harris’ books.
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