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New 'True Blood' Star Joe Manganiello Talks Werewolves and Shirtless Scenes

by Laura Prudom, posted Jun 10th 2010 12:00PM
Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux - True BloodChances are you aren't familiar with the name Joe Manganiello yet, but rest assured, once the new season of 'True Blood' starts airing, that name is going to be splashed over every Hot List from CNN to TMZ.

The 33-year old Pittsburgh native is no stranger to our screens, having enjoyed recurring stints on 'One Tree Hill' and 'How I Met Your Mother,' but it is his role as brooding werewolf Alcide Herveaux that has break-out potential written all over it.

In an exclusive interview with TV Squad, Manganiello dished the dirt on his character's juicy relationship with Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), the story behind Alcide's homicidal ex, and why those 'Twilight' werewolves better "bring it on."

Spoilers ahead!

We don't know what it is about Sookie Stackhouse, but that girl manages to attract more prime chunks of supernatural man-meat than any one woman deserves, and Manganiello's Alcide is no exception. "He's big, he's strong, he's protective," Manganiello said of his character. "He's kind of a recluse -- he just wants to live his life and be left alone."

Can we get an "awww"? The actor has previously described Alcide as the "moral compass" of the show, which seems strange, considering how loose 'True Blood' is with its morals ...

Werewolf, True Blood"I'm interested to see how [that] plays and how the fans respond to it, because it really is bringing something new to the show," Manganiello conceded. "Alcide is this just and moral man, and he sees some things going on that he can't ignore, and so that kind of throws him into the action. He's a big, sensitive bunny rabbit inside of this wolf monster clothing ... A sheep in wolf's clothing!"

For 'True Blood' fans familiar with the books -- or the show's previously released spoilers -- you may already be aware that Alcide is brought into Sookie's life by that Nordic hunk of vampire, Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) to protect our trouble-prone waitress on her search for her undead boyfriend Bill (Stephen Moyer).

Unlucky for Bill, sparks invariably start flying between Sookie and her furry bodyguard, and forget about a love triangle; Manganiello teased that we're definitely in line for a "love square" this season. "There's a fondness and a bond that grows between Alcide and Sookie," he admitted coyly. "Sookie's spunk brings him out of his shell and I think he recognizes that he really likes that."

Does that mean we might see a vampire vs. werewolf showdown that would put 'Twilight' to shame? "Vampires and werewolves don't like each other to begin with," Manganiello said, choosing his words carefully so as not to reveal too much (shucks!). "And if anyone were to mistreat Sookie in any way, the beast inside of Alcide would be unleashed ... "

And what about those inevitable comparisons to 'Twilight'? Though the Sookie Stackhouse novels were written years before Stephenie Meyer's saga was conceived, thanks to 'New Moon' and the upcoming 'Eclipse,' fantasy fans are already more than familiar with the concept of a human girl trapped between two supernatural boyfriends.

Manganiello wasn't worried. "I love the fact that the new 'Twilight' movie is coming out this summer, I love the comparisons, bring 'em on!" he said. "I think that one hand feeds the other. For me, it's a great time to be a werewolf; this is like, the year of the werewolf -- I'm just glad that they're finally starting to get some respect!"

But if Manganiello was teasing about a love square, that begs the question of who the fourth component is. Could it be Eric, who has forced Alcide into this "suicide mission" with Sookie after spending the majority of last season trying to entice our Southern belle away from Bill? Or maybe it's Bill's obsessive ex Lorena (Mariana Klaveno), who might be the culprit behind Bill's kidnapping?

Perhaps we should start calling this love square a love hexagon, because Bill's not the only one with a nutty ex; Manganiello revealed that when we first meet our pensive werewolf, Alcide is "mourning his lost relationship," after his fiancée, Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan), leaves him. "[Debbie] is a troublemaker for me," Manganiello explained. "She's crazy, she's psycho, she just won't go away." Seems like a recurring theme on 'True Blood'; those exes are hard to shake.

Debbie and Alcide both play a larger part in the ongoing subplot of the series, which -- if you've seen the newest promo -- involves a pack of nasty looking werewolves who catch Sookie's scent.

"There are some very scary goings on with the members of another pack," Manganiello revealed of the rival wolves. "Werewolves have lived in hiding for thousands of years without any humans knowing that they exist, and there's this other pack that comes along and threatens to throw that balance off. Debbie is at the heart of that pack uprising."

If you're expecting the werewolves to suffer a similar "outing" to the vampires, however, Manganiello said that might be a little premature. "I think there's a great fear of that because if the werewolves came out they could be subject to experimentation and stuck in zoos," he said, before demonstrating a surprising knowledge of the source material. "In Book 9, the werewolves reveal themselves, they call it the Second Great Revelation. I think that would be something for [the writers] to think about down the line, but for right now this bad pack has to be stopped."

Alcide, True BloodHandsome and well-read -- we think 'True Blood' is spoiling us. And that's even before Manganiello teased that Alcide is shirtless "practically the whole time," this season. "In this day and age, you can't be a werewolf and not be in great shape, apparently," he laughed.

But a more important question than how often Alcide is shirtless, is how long are Alcide and his shirtlessness sticking around? If the books are to be believed, a long time yet. "There have been whispers and rumors and rumblings [about next season]," Manganiello hinted. "People ask me how the show is going and my response is always, they haven't killed me yet!"

Sounds like a good sign to us. We have no doubt that Manganiello's moon is on the rise, and we're looking forward to howling at it for many seasons to come.

Season 3 of 'True Blood' premieres Sun. June 13 on HBO. Joe Manganiello makes his series debut in episode three, airing June 27.

[Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA.]

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Excited for the third season of True Blood. Me too!

But even a show as bloody brilliant as Blood could handle some upgrades - so here's a few words of advice for the show's makers... 7 Top Tips To Keep True Blood on Top.

Less Sookie and Bill (!!!), more Pam and Jessica, why Andy Bellefleur has to die and why less is more on the mythology front...


June 10 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Roggiep's comment

Bill has become a bore, but the Sookie of the books is anything but boring. She's very pro-active and saves more people/creatures than is saved by anyone else. Hopefully the series will stay true to that. Pam is very funny in the books, even more so than in the series, and we read a lot more of her than Tara. I wish the series would use Pam more. I'm sick of Tara whining and being stupid all the time. If we do have to see so much of Tara I wish they'd have her wise up and not be such a downer all the time.
I like the actor playing Andy Bellefleur, I think they make him pretty funny. The books give plenty of plot possibilities for him. And for Hoyt who I really liked. And I liked him with Jessica. While they would be dull if they were happy and together all the time, I hope Hoyt and Jessica do connect from time to time. I worry about them going through the books plot points so fast, instead of just adding to them as they did in the past seasons. It was kind of fun having the information coming hinted at and sprinkled through the books.

I recommend the books highly. I only read them after season 2 and I couldn't put them down once I started. My mom and sister loved them too and we all have very different tastes in reading. My sister was a snob about my reading them but got the first book free with her Kindle last spring. She checked it out and had all the other books read in a week or two. Now our (adult) niece who was snarking at us for reading them is also hooked. My sister downloaded the series from iTunes and her whole family loved it as much as I do. Finally I can discuss it with them as it runs.

June 11 2010 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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