On Oct. 16, two members of the popular HBO series “True Blood” arrived to greet a long line of fans at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek to celebrate the approach of Halloween. Joe Manganiello plays Alcide, the werewolf who has been hired to protect the leading lady, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin). Lindsay Pulsipher is Jason Stackhouse’s (Ryan Kwanten) girlfriend, Crystal Norris. The pair answered a few questions about their blossoming careers and their characters.
Manganiello sees himself in Alcide.
“The character is similar to me in a lot of ways,” mused Manganiello, “He eats a lot of meat … he likes growling, sniffing people … As soon as I read [the script], I knew who this guy was.”
Manganiello underwent extensive preparation for the role, including dialect work and physical training.
“I am a huge fan of Robert DeNiro. I looked at what he did in ‘Raging Bull,’ ‘The Untouchables’…” he said, in regard to trying to bulk up for the role. In order to achieve that goal, he worked with Hugh Jackman’s physical trainer, Ron Matthews, in what they called “The Werewolf Workout” – two workouts per day for days a week for 8 weeks before and then kept up the intensity during filming.
This role, he said, has been the most challenging he has experienced, other than playing Stanley Kowalksi in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Virginia Public Theater, when asked to perform by an ex-professor.
Being in this role as Alcide also has meant huge media attention.
“Nothing could have prepared me …” he said, regarding attention from the paparazzi. “They were at Starbucks this morning, at the airport …”
But he feels his blue collar foundation has helped him stay level-headed and able to deal with the media pressures. He talked about his father working for 40 years at a power plant and how he, himself, knew the value of hard work, getting his hands dirty shoveling sand and gravel.
“Once you do that kind of work, you appreciate it more,” he said, adding, “I couldn’t be happier with the level of fan support.”
It is quite a stretch from that kind of life to a life of fame, but Manganiello knew that he wanted to pursue it, but not unless he could obtain a classical theater degree. Eventually, he did at Carnegie Mellon University.
“They taught me to be a historian, a philosopher, a psychologist, and my athletics before taught me to be an athlete.”
Combining everything he has learned, Manganiello has been able to give his role as Alcide 100 percent. As for Season 4, he said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” meaning he plans on keeping his role consistent.
Besides “True Blood,” he has been offered other roles, some of which he has turned down because he did not feel they were right, including a play in Europe. Although, he does love theater.
“There are some characters in theater that you are not going to find in film. I love it because there is no ‘net.’”
But, he did do a film shoot in Greece, which will be released next year, but for now remains top secret.
He also will be reading (doing voice over narration) the second installment of the “Dragon Bones” series by Patricia Briggs, the audio book. It is called “Dragon Blood.” He also did narration on the first book.
He has played a diverse range of characters in the past, including “Flash” Thompson in “Spiderman” and “Spiderman 3” and was in TV shows like “One Tree Hill” and “How I Met Your Mother.” He hopes to eventually get back into doing comedy at some point. For now, he will continue howling at the moon and reaching for the stars.
His co-star, Pulsipher, plays a were panther, an interesting character in what she calls “an explosive” relationship with Stackhouse. Being in this type of darker drama seems right up her alley.
“I love horror films,” she said. “My favorite is ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’”
Besides “True Blood,” she has continued to do other TV roles, including a CSI episode and was recently in Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Chase.” She sees TV as being a great outlet for actors right now.
“Right now, it is a great place… it is being shot more like a film,” she said, adding that she hopes to do as many roles as possible. “I want to do as many characters as I can. I want each to be better than the last,” she said. “I want to continue to grow.” In recent years, she has been on shows like “NCIS,” “Eleventh Hour,” “The Beast,” and “Flash Forward.”
She approaches her roles more like being a spectator than being the person, looking from the outside in.
“I read the script like a novel … what the person looks like, how much they interact…” she said.
Pulsipher has been in the business since she was young. Although coming from Salt Lake City and into this frenzied business was a bit of a culture shock, she said, “It is a wonderful experience.”