The Joe Manganiello Interview: “Go Big Or Go Home”By True Blood News on Feb 7 2011 | 18 Comments »
Joe Manganiello portrays Alcide Herveaux in True Blood, the werewolf construction worker who sometimes works for vampires. Alcide is presented as a man with working class values and a definite soft spot for one telepathic waitress – but he comes with baggage (don’t they all ladies?), specifically a V-addicted raging ex girlfriend.
We had the chance to ask Joe some questions a couple of days before his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers appeared in Super Bowl XLV. Joe shares his favorite workout music, his motto for living and what the gloomy donkey, Eeyore, from “Winnie the Pooh” has to do with True Blood.
TB-N: It’s hard to find a single article about you that does not mention your abs or physical attributes. Does it get old for you? What does Joe really see when he looks in the mirror?
JM: My idol as a young actor was Robert DeNiro who was famous for inhabiting his characters and transforming himself physically. I remember going to see “Cape Fear” in the theater and being shocked at how much he changed himself for the part. So often people get caught up in talking about the weight gain or weight loss with some of his earlier performances but the work was there and it was mesmerizing. With that said, Charlaine [Harris] gave a very detailed description of “Alcide” in the books and Alan Ball fleshed that out and added incredible depth and heart. I then had the task of living up to it internally, vocally, and physically. When I look in the mirror? I see me as a little kid looking back but all grown up.
TB-N: Is there anything you think people have gotten wrong about you?
JM: I think it’s funny when reporters print things with quotations around it when I know they weren’t recording our conversation or when they print things like “Joe secretly wishes (blank).” If I secretly wish it… how come the super market tabloids know?
TB-N: How did your passion for the cameras begin? Did your football knee injury somehow change the direction you were heading?
JM: Not really. I knew in my soul that playing college sports wasn’t going to fulfill me. The truth is that I tore my MCL playing football and after months of rehab, returned for basketball season and my first game out I went to dunk and my legs got taken out and I landed and broke my elbow and had to sit out with that. I spent the next two years in high school dealing with injury after injury… when the universe has something to tell me… I find that it speaks very loudly. My high school had a TV studio and let us borrow camera equipment and I would write and direct movies for me and my friends to star in. It was my first love.
TB-N: After an expansive career in TV, and now that True Blood has made you quite famous, what’s next for Joe? In what direction would you like your path to take you?
JM: I’m currently figuring out what movie to act in over my next hiatus. I also have a project that I pitched to a studio and I have a music documentary that I want to shoot when I get time. The idea is to be a successful actor/producer.
TB-N: With all the recent media exposure, how has your life changed when out in public? What’s your favorite part of fame?
JM: The Pittsburgh Steelers invited me to come onto the field before kickoff of a recent game and lead the crowd of 62,000+ in the ceremonial “Terrible Towel wave.” That was absolutely amazing.
TB-N: You were already a fan of True Blood when you first auditioned for the role of Cooter. How did you celebrate when you heard that you got the much larger role of Alcide?
JM: Alcide was the part I wanted and thought I was more right for originally but I would have been happy with whatever I got. I just wanted to work on the show with the cast and with Alan Ball. The first thing I did after I heard I got the part was hit my knees and say thank you, and then I just laid there on the floor for a while and breathed. I knew my life was about to change a lot… I treated myself to a steak dinner and thought about everything I had battled through over the years to get there.
TB-N: What dragged you into True Blood as a viewer in the first place? What’s your favorite moment as a fan of True Blood?
JM: I have loved monster movies since I was a little kid so just about anything with vampires peaks my interest… that coupled with the fact that it was on HBO and spearheaded by Alan Ball… come on! Favorite moment? Any scene where Lafayette says “hooker.”
TB-N: We’ve all heard that Alexander Skarsgard is naked on-set sometimes for 8 hours and that Stephen Moyer is a jokester, can you tell us what it’s like for you on the set? Is there any on-set story that you remember fondly?
JM: I get a little of everything… a little comedy, a little romance, some fighting… I get it all with Alcide. That’s why he’s such a great character to play. I had mentioned early on to Anna that Alcide’s grumpiness was based loosely on Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh” and about a week later she showed up on set with a stuffed Eeyore for me that she and Stephen bought at Disneyland… that was very nice. I’m the guy on set who is constantly eating… I am my own roving pack of locusts. With all of the working out and general state of concentration while working, I drink a lot of coffee and eat a ton of protein. You can always find me at the craft services table or on the truck.
TB-N: Alcide seems like such a normal bloke (besides the whole werewolf thing), so we have to ask… really, what does Alcide see in Debbie Pelt?
JM: Alcide has had to hide his abilities from people his entire life. He’s had to sacrifice a lot to stay hidden from the rest of the world. He can’t just casually date and reveal who he really is to just anyone for fear that society would find out. As a result he and most other werewolves stick to their own kind and live in secret. It’s just easier to date your own kind because they understand.
Now, with that said, werewolves are a rough crowd… finding anyone in that crowd remotely attractive is probably very rare. Also, Debbie was a different person before the V addiction. Alcide wishes she was who she was before. When we meet him he has given up on her and accepted that she isn’t coming back. He wants to have nothing to do with her but circumstances keep thrusting him into situations with her. He just wants to be left out of it and move on. He has a big heart and cares about people and especially about his own kind and sometimes he suffers the consequences because of it.
TB-N: Sookie has no qualms about getting googly-eyed while talking to Alcide, even in the presence of jealous vampires. Does this make Alcide nervous or cocky?
JM: I thought a lot about the line in one of the early episodes where Eric describes werewolves as having no fear of death… if you think about it, your pet dog will bark and attack anything that is threatening no matter if that person or animal is holding a gun or if it’s 10 times bigger than it. Call it what you want but that kind of blind bravery and loyalty is the heart of Alcide.
TB-N: How does Joe react to googly-eyed girls in real life?
JM: Joe is very flattered.
TB-N: We kinda feel Alcide was introduced as a hot blooded version of Bill – dark, tormented, and a protector for Sookie. But we’ve also learned that nobody on True Blood is what they seem to be. What does Alcide hide?
JM: That is a great question for Alan Ball…
TB-N: Duly noted ;)
Alcide seems quite comfortable with shrieking women. How hormonal is Sookie going to act with Alcide and do you think he has the best chance to win her heart?
JM: That’s a funny question… she was pretty hormonal at times last season… I think this question will be answered more in depth in season 4.
TB-N: If you take Alcide out of the triangle, square, whathaveyou, do you think Bill or Eric truly love Sookie? One, both or none? Is there any true love in True Blood?
JM: Well, Alcide wasn’t in seasons 1 and 2… but things obviously weren’t exactly easy back then either… I think the show is an exploration of love and sex in its many forms. With that said… I don’t think Alcide is coming out of the equation any time soon…
TB-N: We hear of all the craziness involved right from the beginning of season 4. Besides crazy, is there anything else you can tell us about how season 4 will go? Pretty please?
TB-N: Wow, what a spoiler! OK Joe, I guess we’ll change the subject…
We’ve read that you traveled the world as a roadie for “Goldfinger.” You also sang backup vocals for them on the song “Wasted” on their album “Disconnection Notice.” How invested is Joe with music? Any hidden skills that you want to share? What’s in your play list lately?
JM: I love art and performers in all disciplines. I’m a huge music fan and a lot of my friends are musicians. I learned a ton about live performing from watching John Feldmann and Goldfinger play night after night. I just did some voice over stuff for the band D.R.U.G.S and their new album that’s getting ready to drop and DJ-ed an event this past fall in Santa Clara… so I’d say I’m pretty invested in music. My play list is anything that gets me through two workouts a day six days a week… Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Pantera, Tool, metal and 90s grungy stuff basically… with the occasional breakbeat mixed in.
TB-N: How did you get involved in reading the Dragon series (Hurog Duolog: “Dragon Bones” and now “Dragon Blood” by Patricia Briggs)? When do you expect it to be released, and is there any other book out there we can look out for in the future that you might be narrating?
JM: The opportunity came completely out of the blue via the girls at Buzzy Multimedia… it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and a world I wanted to get into for a long time. The first book is available now and the second should be out pretty soon.
TB-N: Are you a TV show watcher besides True Blood? What are your favorite shows? Do you have any suggestions to help Truebies through the off-season hangover?
JM: I love MAD MEN and anything NFL Football, specifically the Steelers.
TB-N: What is your most treasured possession?
JM: My black construction boots that got me through one of the toughest gut check periods of my life.
TB-N: Does Joe Manganiello have a motto for living life?
JM: “Go big or go home.”
TB-N: What’s your guilty pleasure?
JM: The Jersey Shore
TB-N: And lastly, what is Joe Manganiello’s dream? What would it take for Joe to “have it all?”
JM: To be a great husband and a great Dad and realize all of my professional dreams… oh, and have the Steelers win Super Bowl XLV.
TB-N: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Joe. Sorry about the Super Bowl, there’s always next year.