Joe Manganiello, Newest Star on True Blood

June 27, 2010 by  

For every actor trying to break into stardom they must begin with a guest spot here and there, a recurring role, and then finally that one role that opens the golden doors of fame.

For Joe Manganiello, playing the werewolf Alcide in the HBO series True Blood may prove to be the role that will make him a star.

The Mt. Lebanon native started his journey as a graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, then a 2000 graduate of Carnegie Melon University, before snagging the role of Flash Thompson in the Spider-man movies as well as recurring roles on How I Met Your Mother and One Tree Hill. Now he has been given the opportunity to play Alcide, which has come at the best time in popular culture given that werewolves are what’s hot thanks to Taylor Lautner and the Twilight series.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Joe talked about how, unlike other shows or movies, True Blood focuses on the deeper levels and characters of the supernatural. Joe notes,

“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.”

To better understand his character, Joe connected Alcide’s experiences to that of his own father. Joe’s father was left-handed during a time when schools were programming their children to be right-handed. For Joe it was a perfect parallel because as he puts it,

“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.”

It seems that Joe will fit into the True Blood world very nicely as he is being thrown into a love square right away. Alcide is a bodyguard for Sookie Stackhouse, while she searches for her vampire lover Bill Compton. Alcide is hired by Eric Northman, who is very interested in Sookie for more than one reason. It seems though, both vampires might have to contend with this werewolf as there is chemistry between Alcide and Sookie.

Why wouldn’t Sookie have an attraction to? As Joe sees it, Alcide isn’t like the rough and tumble werewolves the fans have been introduced to in True Blood. Instead, he’s tried very hard to live within human society, which may be something Sookie will appreciate.

However, as much as Alcide is a part of the human world, he is still very much a werewolf and Joe wanted to portray that physically in his character. Through five months of hard physical training and by sporting a beard Joe has achieved a physical Alcide. Joe notes,

“I wanted him to be built like an animal would…I wanted the audience to look and see a physically strong creature.”

His body will be on display very much on the show given his supernatural ability to change from human to animal. Being naked after his transformations means that Joe has become part of the ‘brotherhood of the sock’. Depending on the scene, Joe will have to wear a variety of different coverings that give the illusion of being naked.

Acting nude isn’t what Joe imagined as his future career. After a football injury, Joe began to take his amateur hobby for film-making more seriously and focused his attention on acting. His volleyball and football coaches had thought this decision was a stupid move on Joe’s part, but when he scored a role in the Mt Lebanon production of Oklahoma, they were proven wrong.

It’s been a difficult road for Joe; he didn’t get accepted into Carnegie Melon’s acting program his senior year of high school,l but Joe didn’t let defeat hinder him. Instead he attended Pittsburgh University for a year and then reapplied, ultimately getting accepted.

Now it seems he will be on True Blood for quite a while, as long as the  producers don’t decide to change up the trajectory of Alcide’s character. An optimistic Joe notes that the the character is a prominent figure in the 10th Charlaine Harris novel, which is the basis for the show.

With such a role comes the rising of fame. Recently Joe has been invited to attend a Steelers game this season, as well as a possible role in November’s Celebrate the Season Parade. The Steelers aren’t the only ones proud of the young actor. Joe’s parents are letting all of their friends know about their son’s achievements.

As soon as a few episodes of True Blood begin airing this season, Joe’s dad will go down to Primanti’s and pitch the idea to get his son’s face painted on their wall, which would be like winning an Oscar in Joe’s eyes.

This Spring Joe did film a pilot for CBS set in Pittsburgh, but the network ultimately passed. The show revolved around a sports dad with a five month old infant. Joe used this opportunity to use a  Pittsburghese accent and to showcase his own love for sports.

Though the pilot was a no go, Joe still has the opportunity to shine brightly in True Blood. Thankfully, there are going to be a lot of full moons these summer Sunday nights, so we’ll be seeing a lot of our sexy new werewolf!

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

(Photo Credit: HBO Inc.)

  • Amanda

    the big question is how does pre-recorded television interfere with a holiday? Everything is run by computers anyways. What is HBO gunna do run Independence Day all of sunday? Or worse, re-runs?

    • It’s a simple way that HBO is respecting the foundation of America. They do it every year.

  • Katra

    Uh, Lani, Stacee…

    You guys DO realize that the 4th is a NATIONAL holiday, right? July 4th is a HOLIDAY in the US… an important one. Whether or not we personally celebrate it, HBO is still going to recognize it. They’ve done the same with other shows in the past.

    And think about it this way… We have an extra week for watching True Blood!


    THEY’VE ONLY AIRED 3 EPS AND ARE ALREADY TAKING A SUNDAY OFF? SO JULY 4TH THERE WILL BE NO TRUE BLOOD????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Just got done watching it…Again!! It’s all good….Geez, the end?? With Bill and his Huh,maker??!! What the heck?? She’s all still thrilled!! Damn! I agree with my honey(he doesn’t know it)Bill!! I think he is F—–……and not just literally! Geez, it looks like we have to wait till July 11th for the next show!!?? OMG!! What’s up with that?? That’s just not even right…..

  • Loleaf

    OMG, I can’t wait to see Alcide/Joe!! It’s going to be insane with so much going on tonight! Eric protecting Sookie from the were, Sookie shooting at it, and Tara and Franklin getting together!! Not to mention Bill and the king …3 hrs and 45 mins to go!! LOL! 🙂