Joe Mangiello Talks True Blood, The Books And The Fans

Manganiello told why Alcide and Sookie are a good match, what it takes to meet fans’ soaring expectations and his thoughts on the complicated etiquette of “werewolf dating.”

Jumping on the True Blood bandwagon.
“I watched the pilot episode and it made me really upset after I watched it. That was probably because everyone looked like they were having so much fun and I was really jealous. It was basically like a giant Halloween party. And I got bummed out.”

The blog-filled road to Alcide.
“A few months after the pilot came out, a friend sent me a Web link to a blog where fans of the books – I didn’t realize the series was based on a set of books – were speculating on, ‘When the characters in the books appear on the show, who should play them?’ And all these fans were blogging and posting pictures of me, saying there’s a werewolf that appears in book three and suggesting that I play him. So, from there, I ordered the books on Amazon and started reading and, sure enough, the character was described as looking like me, physically. And I got super excited, because ever since I was a little kid I’d wanted to play a werewolf or some kind of supernatural monster and made sure I watched every single episode [of True Blood].”

Meeting the fans’ high expectations.
“Once I got cast, I went to work. Obviously, there are fans and they have expectations and they’re excited about you, and you want to meet those expectations the best you can. So I really got into the footwork and the gym time and the dialect coach and the whole deal and just really worked my a– off prepping for the role.”

About those fans…
“The fan support for my character, even before I had shown up on the show, was completely overwhelming. Fan-dedicated Web sites and even people stopping me at the gym and saying, ‘You’re the werewolf dude, right? I can’t wait to see you.’ Which, of course, adds more pressure and you just hope everybody’s going to be happy with your portrayal and what you’re doing. In a way it’s almost like – you’re almost playing a historical character for some people. This character from these books that fans have known and loved, and you’re bringing that to life, so you really want to make sure that everyone is happy. But the fans, it seems like, have been really excited. I’m down here in Anaheim for the All Star weekend for the [Major League Baseball] All Star Game, and people come up to me and seem genuinely excited about the show and about my character. I guess, mission accomplished.”

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