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Interview with Joe Manganiello

Alcide

HBO

So, the long-awaited meeting of Sookie and Alcide has finally taken place...what kind of fireworks can fans expect to see this season?

Joe Manganiello

That's the million dollar question, right? It's really one for Alan Ball to answer. But, I will say that Alcide presents a very interesting option for Sookie. I was talking to Anna [Paquin] about this, too, and she said, "Alcide can actually take me to brunch!" But he starts off, obviously, as a bodyguard and protector, and they're both kind of in interesting spots as far as relationships go...I don't know that I can say much more that that. It definitely percolates.

HBO

How did you get inside the head of this solitary werewolf?

Joe Manganiello

So Alcide is literally this big monster. And some of the scariest people I've ever met in my life - tattoo-covered former hitmen and gang members, whatever - they look like monsters, but inside they're some of the most sensitive people. It's like this monster is constructed to keep people away from how sensitive they are. I think that's a lot of what Alcide is. He's this little bunny in a wolf's clothing. He's just a guy who wants to live out his life quietly.

HBO

You really had to get in shape for this role - what's the wolfman workout like?

Joe Manganiello

I worked with this guy named Ron Mathews, who trained Hugh Jackman for X-Men. If you're playing an animal or a guy named after an animal, you want to work with him. And on this show, you know you're going to be showing skin at some point. So I met with him and did two workouts a day. My shoulders and arms got a lot bigger, but my waist got way smaller. I've had to get all new jeans. I was thinking, "If you're going to be working with Anna Paquin, you need to be ripped."

I was thinking, "If you're going to be working with Anna Paquin, you need to be ripped."

HBO

Sounds like you may be rivaling Jason for shirtless onscreen time this season...

Joe Manganiello

It certainly seems that way. I'm definitely the piece of meat this year. But hell, in 15 years, I won't be able to look like this, so I might as well do it while I can.

HBO

How did it feel to meet your wolf counterpart?

Joe Manganiello

At first, it was just pure intimidation. They're wild animals, almost as big as me. They're beautiful creatures with these piercing yellow eyes, but make no mistake: It's not a dog. The first time I met my wolf, Thunder, he kept trying to stare me in the eye. It was kinda scary. But the trainers took him out, and he warmed up to me. Then the next time I saw him, I went up to his ranch and got to walk him for about 45 minutes. Still, there was an adjustment period when I met him. I wasn't 100 percent comfortable.

HBO

Does that make you a dog or a cat person?

Joe Manganiello

My girlfriend has a Yorkie and a King Charles. So she has these two little dogs that she calls my "wolf pack at home." She's waiting for the were-Yorkie on 'True Blood.'

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27: It Hurts Me Too

Season 3