Joe Manganiello is becoming really well-known for taking his shirt off. The 35-year-old, who recent characters feature the actor sans shirt, is now starring as a male stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike and werewolf Alcide in HBO’s True Blood.
But, he doesn’t really care. “The only hesitation was just that voice in my head that said, ‘Okay, everybody makes such a big deal out of you being shirtless on True Blood. Now you’re going to be a male stripper,’” he told NBC New York. “So there was just a thought about that—but who cares? I’m known for being shirtless in projects helmed by Oscar winners. So what? Fine. I think that if it was a male stripper movie with most anyone else you probably would look at it cross-eyed, but it’s Steven. Then you go, ‘Okay, it’s Steven. It’s Channing [Tatum.] It’s [Matthew] McConaughey.”
Manganiello, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, said that he “spent the first half of my career doing nothing but classical material. We’re talking Shakespeare and Ibsen and Chekhov and ancient Greek. So that doesn’t go anywhere. I’m not really worried about it. I wasn’t in this kind of shape before True Blood. This is the kind of shape that I got into to play the character. It just so happens that there’s been this succession of parts in a certain line.”
He went on to say: “Work ethic is the only thing that I have control over, so the fact that even if I was cast because of my abs—so what? I work my ass off for that stuff. Steven Soderbergh cast me in Magic Mike because of my appearance on Chelsea Handler. He was flipping channels and went, ‘That guy is great. That’s the sense of humor we need.’ Alan Ball cast me [for True Blood] with my shirt on, coming in and reading for his show. What am I supposed to say? I think that I just bring as much as I can to roles and if the part calls for that kind of stuff, then I’m going to do it 110 percent like Edward Norton did back in American History X and the way Robert DeNiro did in Cape Fear.”
Magic Mike is in theaters now. True Blood airs on Sundays at 10pm on HBO.