TELEVISION Joe Manganiello, who plays a good werewolf in True Blood, talks of how he trained for the role
H e has played Flash Thompson in the Spider-Man film series, and had recurring roles in television on “ER”, “How I Met Your Mother” and “One Tree Hill” but Joe Manganiello is best known as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on the HBO television series “True Blood”.
His character arrived on the third season of the series as a bodyguard, hired by Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) for Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), when her romantic companion, vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), goes missing.
Manganiello's work on the third season brought him both popular and critical recognition, including a Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role in Television and a NewNowNext Award.
In a telephonic interaction, the American actor says: “Working in a show like ‘True Blood' is fulfilling. The rich dialogues, the passion among the different characters, the iconic people who direct and produce the show make this an absolutely satisfying role to play. I give my job 200 percent of myself and I'm kidding you not, the show has changed my life completely.”
Of what to expect in the fourth season, Joe divulges: “Alcide gets into serious trouble with the wolf pack and he moves close to where Sookie lives. With the expression of his love for her, Alcide's romantic life gets more complicated. This season will also see Alcide move to a new pack. But it's the showdown between Alcide and Eric in the fourth episode that one should look forward to the most.”
“True Blood” was already Manganiello's favourite television show when he joined the cast. He auditioned to play Coot, another werewolf in the series, but was asked to read for Alcide instead. The actor left no stone unturned when it came to getting into the skin of his character. “I grew a beard and trained for five months with trainer Ron Mathews to add muscle for the role. I also got a sun tan to set myself apart from the other characters on the series and spent time studying live wolves.” But the real challenge he says was “learning a different dialect. I grew up in Pittsburg where the dialect is significantly different so that took me some effort and time.”
Werewolves are usually bad guys but Alcide is a good one. So what's it like playing a good werewolf? “Lonely,” Joe laughs.
When asked why he thinks fantasy-based shows and films have a huge fan following, the actor replies: “I really think it's the sexiness, the nakedness, the murder and violence that get people hooked onto shows like ‘True Blood'. Also, in such shows, the writing is brilliant, the actors extremely talented and there is always a real display of emotions especially that of love and loss.”
Tell him that he's got quite a lot of Indian women who drool over him and Joe is ecstatic. “Really?” he asks, adding: “I would love to come to India sometime and maybe we could have a werewolf party soon.”