Joe Manganiello: True Blood is About Humanity

June 27, 2010 by  

Joe Manganiello is in the role of a lifetime.  Being a werewolf was his childhood dream and playing Alcide Herveaux on HBO‘s True Blood is a dream come true.

Joe credits his fans for getting him the role.  After finding blogs recommending him for the part of Alcide, Joe pressured his agents and managers to get him an audition.  “It’s a testament to this day and age of computers and blogging and fan sites.”

Initially, Joe was asked to audition for a smaller werewolf part.  Speaking in a phone interview with, Joe stated that it was the best audition of his life.  He was brought back for a second interview, “then they wound up bringing me back in for Alcide“.

Talking about his role, Joe explained that Alcide is forced by Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) to play bodyguard to Sookie (Anna Paquin) during her daytime search for her missing vampire boyfriend Bill (Stephen Moyer).  “From there, Sookie and I are basically inseparable. I’ve sworn on my life to protect her.”

While Joe got a really good idea of his character from Charlaine Harris‘ books (on which the series is based), he got a much deeper insight during a conversation he had with Ms. Harris at the show’s Season 3 premier.  But, of course, creator Alan Ball deviates from the books and puts his own spin on the characters.

“If you read the books, you get the basic gist of who Alcide is, and the TV show is just a more fleshed out, deeper version.  You get into Alcide’s relationship with Debbie (Brit Morgan).  That isn’t necessarily shown, in depth, in the books. You really get into his past and the werewolf society a lot more.  It’s just a much fuller, much richer description.”

During the first day on the set, Joe was a bit star-struck by Sookie Stackhouse.  Having been a fan of the show and then the books, the whole situation felt kind of surreal.  “It really was like being sucked through the television into my favorite show.”

Speaking of Anna Paquin (Sookie), Joe has lots of admiration for her acting skills.

“I think Anna is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with.  Watching how consistent she is with such highly emotional scenes was shocking to me.  There were days when she had to cry for 10 hours straight and she nailed it, every single take.  I find her to be a really inspiring person to work with.  Who she is in real life and then the character that she plays is such a huge departure that it’s really fun to watch.”

Moving on to Alcide and what we can expect to see this season, Joe spoke of the relationship between his character and ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt. Debbie is 100% trailer trash, but there are moments where the girl that Alcide fell in love with shows up, and that’s what makes it so heartbreaking and so sad.”

So does that clear the way for a romance with SookieJoe said the attraction is definitely there.  But basically Alcide wants to be left alone to nurse his broken heart.  Unfortunately, circumstances won’t allow that to happen.

The interview went on to discuss how Joe keeps physically fit to allow him to play a character that is part animal.  He said he has to feel confident enough to exude that physical strength that a werewolf has.  He enjoys getting physical and was pleased that he was allowed to participate in the fight scenes.  It would be only natural, since werewolves “are a really rough bunch, so wherever there is a group of werewolves, there is always going to be a fight.”

It was evident that Joe has thought about the appeal of the show, about why it has such devoted fans.

“It’s going to sound funny, but I think that people respond to the humanity of the show.  I think the show, in its essence, is about what it means to be human.  It explores loneliness, love, lust, loss and death, but it does so through people that either were human and are no longer, or people that are only partially human, or people that aren’t human and are trying to live amongst the human society.”

And for now, Joe is feeling very lucky.  He has a role in the hottest show on television in the “coolest part I could every play”.  As for the timing – it appears that 2010 is the year of the werewolf.  He’s enjoying every moment of it.

What can we expect for the season finale?  All Joe would reveal is that “It’s going to be insane.  People are going to lose their minds!”


(Photo credit: HBO, Inc.)