With a role in the hottest (literally) movie of the year and the sexiest show on television, Joe Manganiello is helping to ensure your summer is one smokin' season. But there is much more to Magic Mike than meets the eye (although those will have plenty of candy to feast upon in the six-pack packed production) since the script places as much importance on the guy's hearts as it does their gyrations. Something Joe knew from the jump considering acclaimed Steven Soderberg was behind the lens.
I caught up with the always affable actor to find out why he signed on to take it off, if he lives up to his character's name and why the next run of True Blood episodes has been three years in the making!
TheInsider.com: The anticipation for Magic Mike has been massive, with people dying to see all these actors nearly naked. So I was surprised to see the film was equally interested in the men behind the thongs.
Joe Manganiello: I think that's Soderberg, 100 percent. There are so many superlatives that describe him – he's brilliantly intelligent, wickedly funny and incredibly cool. You don't make a male stripper movie without someone like him at the helm. Steven's arguably the greatest director of our time and I don't strap on a penis pump for just any director.
Insider.com: Your character, Big Dick Richie, lives up to his name with two memorable scenes. Everyone wants to know, prosthetic or not?
Joe: What prosthetic? There's no prosthetic. I did not use a stunt double.
Insider.com: You and Matt Bomer have been friends since college, but from all the grouped interviews the cast has done, it's clear you all really bonded through this project.
Joe: Having Matt there with me just made the experience 100 percent better. We had a blast and I think it was because of the subject material. People have preconceived notions about male strippers and they don't realize it's got the same sense of humor as 80s pro-wrestling. It's just jacked up guys in thongs and go-go boots hustling women. Let the comedy begin.
Insider.com: The dancing in this movie is incredibly athletic, did Channing's experience help in terms of performing as a unit?
Joe: Having Channing there, he takes it to another level – it goes beyond stripping. What he does is an art form. But our choreography team was amazing. They've done Pink and Madonna and Britney Spears. They have such a great sense of humor and are so good at what they do. They laid these pieces out for us and once I saw the choreography, the movie fell into place and started making sense in my mind.
Insider.com: And some of the costumes you guys perform in are epic, which was your favorite?
Joe: The amount of effort and work it took to get me into the gold man costume is incredible. I won't say it's once in a lifetime because it could happen again [laughs], but I looked in the mirror and just couldn't stop laughing. That might be the footage I want played at my In Memoriam at The Oscars after I die.
Insider.com: Magic Mike comes out Friday, True Blood airs a new episode on Sunday -- it's like the weekend of Joe!
Joe: The bucket list has been obliterated at this point. We're way beyond the bucket list now.
Insider.com: What have you enjoyed about Alcide's arc so far this season?
Joe: Sunday’s episode is one that fans have been waiting three years for! Really meaty with the storyline involving Debbie's parents. Everything picks up in a big way this week. You'll see Alcide dealing with Debbie's parents now that he knows what Sookie did. You'll also see him deal with Sookie after dealing with her parents, which is some heavy stuff. He's such a stoic man of few words and the writers really found some situations and scenes and was to give him some really great material.
Insider.com: How much does finding out Sookie killed Debbie, turned Tara and lied about it affect Alcide's take on her?
Joe: It's a really complex set of emotions. I mean, number one, he's dated Debbie since they were kids. There's a sense of loss, a sense of guilt and lots of remorse because he couldn't cure her permanently. There's sadness in her being gone, but also a sense of understanding because Debbie had pointed guns at Sookie multiple times. Alcide knows how crazy she was. So there's a bit of relief too because that can't happen again. But then there's confusion and anger over why Sookie didn't bring this to him immediately. Why she was not only lying to him, but planning to keep lying to him. There's some betrayal there and all of that is wrapped up into one. Alcide is dealing with this Incredible Hulk-style anger. And once the wolf starts rising up, he knows that he won't completely be in control.
Insider.com: Should Sookie be afraid of Alcide?
Joe: I think he feels the anger rising so it's more of a sense of needing to extricate himself from the situation because he's afraid of what he might do when pushed to the edge. It's like when you get in an argument with your significant other, you go for a walk to cool off. Imagine going through that as a werewolf and it's more like, I need to cool off so I don't smash this wall, I don't flip this car, I don't attack somebody that I love.
Insider.com: This season also brings Robert Patrick in as Jackson, Alcide's dad. How was it working with him?
Joe: He's awesome. I love him. He brings such a depth to the character. The two of us have such great chemistry on set. It's one of these classic father/son relationships where they don't say a lot, but there is so much conveyed non-verbally. You'll see what a really bad example of werewolves his father set for him and how that's made Alcide sees it as a curse.
Insider.com: Looking at the rest of the season, what else are you excited for fans to see?
Joe: I've been waiting for three years for what happens to Alcide in the finale, so I'm very excited for fans to see that. For me, it's a great ending. I see it as the end of the third act for my character.
Magic Mike is now playing and True Blood airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.