With Channing Tatum being named People‘s Sexiest Man Alive, Magic Mike is back on the brain. But Joe Manganiello is confident that if fans see him now (pictured, via Twitter), as he shoots David Ayer’s Ten in Atlanta with Arnold Schwarzenegger, they would not ask him to do one of his famous body rolls. “Now I have a huge Unabomber beard, with cornrows and full-sleeve tattoos, and I’ve put on probably like 20 pounds. I look like a biker/murderer, which is really what I’m playing,” he tells EW. “So the body roll asks have subsided. People come up to me now, and they’re like, ‘Hey, I went to go get my car fixed and I’m pretty sure that they screwed me over. Can you go and talk to these people for me?’ That’s my request now. I’m sure after this movie comes out, people are gonna ask me to start killing people for money. Which I guess is a good thing. I’m an actor, so I’m supposed to change.”
In the film, he plays Grinder, a member of a task force the DEA has put together to fight against the Mexican cartels. “I’ve spent the past four months training with guys who do it for a living. That’s complete with ridealongs with narcotics officers in South Central, where, like, I saw some stuff go down. I’ve been training with a task force that goes around the world training SWAT teams how to sweep buildings, which is amazing. I’ve been out on the shooting range firing fully automatic weapons with the sheriff’s department. I’ve trained MMA stand-up and ground fighting, which is stuff that I’ve done before,” he says. “My character’s deep undercover within a biker gang. I got to design my own biker cut. I helped design the tattoos that I’m covered in. My character’s part Native American, so there’s a skull in a headdress on one arm. He was also a former Marine, so there’s a couple different takes on that. Basically, his job is to rid the planet of souls that shouldn’t be here. So the tattoos are death-themed. I’ve got a rattle snake skeleton on one forearm.”
In addition to Schwarzenegger, the cast includes Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Max Martini, and The Killing‘s Mireille Enos. “We’ve all just worked our asses off,” Manganiello says. “Arnold was my idol growing up, so getting to spend every day with him has just been priceless to me.” Like Ayer’s End of Watch, Ten is “educational in its scariness,” he says. “David lets you fly your freak flag as big as you want. These characters that I’ve met just doing the research, they’re really out there and they’re really scary. These guys hunt human beings, that’s what they’re good at. David told me going in, ‘You can be as mean as you want. You can be as nasty as you want. You can be as bad as you want. It’s my job to pull you back.’ So the first day of shooting, in an improv, I pulled a machete on an extra,'” Manganiello says. “David came up to me and was like, ‘Okay. So, I love it. But we have to worry about people falling on the machete and dying.’ So pretty much anything south of pulling a machete on an unsuspecting extra. And hell, I think that was the take. So I think even that goes.”
Ten wraps in early December. Manganiello begins filming season 6 of HBO’s True Blood in January.