Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of True Blood, stop reading now (or update: check out our full recap first). We spoke to the actor behind the final season’s latest casualty.
In “Fire in the Hole,” Alcide (Joe Manganiello) tracked Sookie (Anna Paquin) in wolf form and found her in the woods with Bill (Stephen Moyer) trying to lure H-vamps, who Sookie hoped would take her back to their nest. Then Bill, who’d given Sookie his blood, could lead a rescue of the kidnapped. Only they didn’t share their plan with anyone: Alcide and Sam (Sam Trammell) saved Bill, and the H-vamps were taken out by the cavalry led by Andy (Chris Bauer) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten). Alcide shifted back to his human form and was shot by one of the armed townsfolk lurking in the woods simply for being supernatural. “As soon as he knows Sookie’s all right, it’s like, ‘Hey, Bill, I’m gonna f–kin’ kill you right now.’ He probably just should have done it rather than talk about it—it’s the fatal flaw in TV and film, you know, everybody wants to talk about it. And then the gun shot goes off,'” Manganiello told EW before the episode aired. “I don’t know how to make it more suspenseful than that. I get shot in the head by this random character whose name I don’t even know and die naked in the woods.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When were you told Alcide would be dying?
JOE MANGANIELLO: Before we started shooting the season. I used to have lunch with Alan Ball before every season, and he would let me know what the arc was going to be for the character. So I had dinner with Bucky [showrunner Brian Buckner], and he brought the first three scripts and said, “We’re killing you.” I said, “I know.” He said, “You do?” I said, “Yeah. What are you gonna do with Alcide if he’s with Sookie? We’re gonna have a nice wedding and take off for Bermuda, then move away from town and stay there and have babies? That’s not the show. The fairy has to be with the vampire, so you gotta get the werewolf outta the way. You can’t have her break Alcide’s heart, because then people won’t like Sookie—they’ll get mad at her for breaking the good guy’s heart. So it’s the only choice you have, really—you gotta kill him.” And if you’re looking for characters to kill, it’s not like any other characters are gonna cry for Alcide because nobody knew him. [Laughs] The only one I interacted with in five years was Sam. There was a bunch of werewolf characters that we never got into. He was pack master for, like, a day-and-a-half. [Laughs] So it’s the perfect character to kill off. As soon as I read the season finale last year and he was with Sookie, I went, “I’m dead, they’re gonna kill me,” immediately. Like, immediately.
Last week’s episode twisted the knife for fans by having Alcide tell Sookie that they could just keep driving and save themselves. He wanted to leave, and she said no.
Let’s do the logical thing: Why are we staying in this stupid town, living in the house where your grandmother was killed, and all these people had orgies and got their heads blown off, and horrible things have happened? This crazy vampire guy who tried to kill you lives down the street. Like, why are we doing this? I am a contractor. I probably have a million dollars in the bank. I mean, I definitely have to have money if I’m building these huge housing communities off in Shreveport. So hey, let’s go retire. Let’s take off for Bermuda, where there’s no crazy vampire/orgy stuff going on, and we can just be happy. And she’s like, “No.” [Laughs] I’m being goofy about it, but that’s kinda what you should do.
Had fans been expressing concern for the character to you?
After last week’s episode, I saw they were all fired up on Twitter: “Alcide’s in the shower, and she’s gonna go take off? What’s wrong with that girl?” I thought that stuff was really funny. Like, “I’d get in that shower!” I think there’s been a little bit of concern. I think people have been hashtagging #AlcideNeedsaHug. They just wanted to give him a hug after that episode.
When you were filming the death scene, were you like, “Of course I’m naked”?
Yeah, totally. It’s 30 degrees in Malibu at night, and you gotta lay on the ground naked in wet dirt and try not to shake [laughs] which is not easy to do when you’re out there for hours.
Was it the death you would have chosen for Alcide?
I’m glad it wasn’t a vampire, ’cause I think that might have been emasculating. He hates vampires so much, then he gets taken out by one of them? Is it better to get taken out by a nameless hillbilly? I don’t know. [Laughs] I don’t know what to say.
Did you take anything from set as a souvenir?
I took my sock. I’m gonna frame it and put it up in my guest bathroom. That’s a fun piece of memorabilia. Maybe I’ll donate it someday to the Academy museum.
Did you ask to see scripts for the reminder of the season, or are you going to watch as a fan?
They sent ’em to me. I’m still on the mailing list. So I read [episodes] nine and 10, out of curiosity.
And we won’t be seeing you again on the show—in someone’s V dream or a flashback?
No. I had to get out of there and go promote Sabotage and then La Bare [the male stripper documentary he directed, now in select theaters].
What’s been the highlight of promoting La Bare?
That video of Channing Tatum where he was freaking out about how good it was. He did this interview at the 22 Jump Street premiere, and he just went nuts, and somebody sent it to me, and it was just awesome. It’s always great when people whose opinions matter to you say nice things.
You’re currently on the cover of People magazine, crowned Hollywood’s Hottest Bachelor. Which friend has razzed you the most about that?
Well, there’s my buddy Billy. He was voted Most Eligible Bachelor in Pittsburgh a few years ago. I’ve been giving him endless amounts of s–t over the years over that. So I’m sure that it’s coming my way from him. In fact, I saw him [a couple of weekends ago] because we premiered La Bare in Pittsburgh, and I said, “Look, this title will count for everywhere but Pittsburgh. I’ll be No. 2 in Pittsburgh.”
As proof that I read the People article and didn’t just look at the pictures, you talk about watching Sunday night TV on your “killer couch.” What makes it so killer?
Well, I’m a big dude, and I always swore that when I made money, I was gonna a.) get a bed that I fit on, because my feet had always hung over my bed growing up as a kid because I was giant and b.) get a couch that I can fit on laying down stretched out. I got the Cadillac, the Ferrari—I don’t know how you want to classify it—the Humvee of couches. It’s the Restoration Hardware leather custom couch. You pick you own leather. It’s U-shaped, so it’s two 8′ sides connected to an 11′ center. It’s massive. It can fit, like, eight giant football dudes comfortably on Sunday afternoon…or two people who really like each other on Sunday night.
Well played. What’s next for you?
La Bare is the big thing right now. It hits Video On Demand on Aug. 15, so anybody who can’t get to one of the theaters to see it can get it at their house and have a party then. It looks like I’m gonna shoot a movie in August, but it hasn’t been announced yet, and then Magic Mike 2 in the fall. And our company 3:59 has a whole slate of stuff on the way.
I’m asking every True Blood actor I speak to this season if they’d be up for doing that True Blood musical that’s in early discussions. Would you?
No, I’m not a musical person…But it would be awesome if Hugh Jackman played Alcide. I want to throw it out there: If anybody’s gonna play Alcide, I want it to be Hugh Jackman.