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Joe Manganiello on Getting Naked: It's Par for the Course

Wonderwall, Friday, June 22, 2012, 10:35am (PDT)
  • Playing a clothing-challenged werewolf on "True Blood," Joe Manganiello is used to baring his bod week in and week out on the hit HBO series. Now he's about to take his flesh-flashing act to the big screen, when "Magic Mike" debuts June 28 in theaters. Manganiello stars alongside Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew Bomer in the male stripper extravaganza that is loosely based on Tatum's own experiences as a male dancer in Florida. Wonderwall caught up with Manganiello on Thursday night at a launch party for the Samsung Galaxy S III at a private residence in Beverly Hills, Calif., and asked him why he took the role, what he did to prepare and how he learned all his moves.

    Wonderwall: When you first got the script for the role, what did you think about playing a male stripper?

    Joe Manganiello: I was flattered that I was handed a script with a character named "Big D--- Richie." I looked at what was going on in it, and I don't want to give anything away to you, but there is some pretty crazy stuff that there's no way to pass up. Then when I heard [Steven] Soderbergh was directing, I was super-excited to work on something as grimy and crazy as this.

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    WW: Was it a little intimidating at first to play a stripper?

    JM: I mean, I play a naked werewolf running around growling at people, so at this point it's just par for the course.

    WW: What was your workout regimen like? How did you get in shape for the role?

    JM: Well, you know for "True Blood" you have to stay in pretty good shape to be naked all the time like that, so it was really just trading out running or the elliptical for dancing. We had dance rehearsals every day for a couple of months.

    WW: Did you have to go to a male strip show or anything to research?

    JM: Oh no, I didn't have to. I actually have a good friend of mine who, as it turns out, was a male stripper in Dallas in the '90s, so I just went and hung out with him for lunch. I worked in clubs from the time I was 16, and I come from a pretty athletic background, so all the pieces kind of got put together.

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    WW: In the cast, who do you think was the best stripper?

    JM: Well, Channing [Tatum] did it for a living before he was an actor, so Channing is on a different level as a dancer and the rest of us are just trying not to embarrass our families.

    WW: Did he teach you any of his moves?

    JM: No, they choreographed all of our stuff, so there was stripper boot camp about a month before we started shooting. We worked it out with them, which consisted of doing hip rolls and body rolls for hours at a time.

    WW: Did the entire cast take the boot camp together?

    JM: We started out individually to learn the basic money-making moves, then we all got together to work on the military routine.

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