Warning: do not continue reading unless you've watched the Sunday, July 6 episode of True Blood as this article contains major spoilers. Seriously, if you decide to read it and then complain about spoilers in the comments, well, you suck. Pun absolutely intended.
"I'm trying to be diplomatic."
But it was hard for Joe Manganiello to do so when talking about his beloved character Alcide's fate in tonight's episode of True Blood. Yes, the HBO vampire drama killed off its resident werewolf, proving that no character is safe in the seventh and final season.
Manganiello (and his many abs) quickly became a fan favorite when he joined the show in its third season as yet another suitor competing for Sookie's (Anna Paquin) heart, along with vampires Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård). And during our chat with Manganiello about Alcide's tragic demise, the Magic Mike star was quite frank about the wolf's chances, or lack thereof, of making it to the end...
When did you learn that Alcide would be dying and what was your initial response when you found out how early he would be going out in the final season?
I called it at the end of last season. You can't have Sookie break his heart and you need to get him out of the way so that she can deal with Bill, so the only thing that was left is to kill him. So as soon as I read the finale for season six, the first thing I said was, 'They are going to kill me.' It's an expendable character; he doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the plot. I didn't really ever act with anybody in the regular cast for the last few years, so you know, it's sad, but none of the characters are going to miss me other than Sookie. I think you can kill Alcide and you can get a shock, you can get a rise out of people and you can make it so that now everybody's afraid any character can go at any time.
Did they give you a heads up before you received the script?
Oh, of course. You get the script way ahead in advance. I had dinner with Bucky [Brian Buckner], the showrunner, before the season started. And that's what I do every year. When Alan ran the show, I had lunch with Alan [Ball] and then Bucky took over…I guess this was his first full season as showrunner and we had dinner and he knew. He brought me the first three scripts, and was like, ‘We're killing you.' And I was like, ‘I know.' He said, ‘We have to do it. We can't have his heart broken and make Sookie look bad.' And I said, ‘Of course, I totally get it.' So that was it.
What do you remember most about your death scene and what was it like saying goodbye to a character you've played for four years?
It was freezing. It was outdoors. I had to lay on the ground naked and it had to be in the 30s? And so I was trying not to shiver while I was lying on the ground. I was trying to stay still enough to not move during the scene. That wasn't the final scene for me, but my last day was actually…it was part of episode two. It was just me alone, it was me alone in the house looking for Sookie, so there wasn't actually anybody else on set. I didn't really get to say goodbye to anybody. [Laughs.] Josh in craft services brought me a cake with my wolf on it. They give you a cake when you die and they cut the cake open and it's red velvet, so it looks like blood on the inside.
How did you feel about the way Alcide died on the show?
Being killed by a character whose name I can't even remember? I mean, awesome. [Laughs.] I'm trying to be diplomatic here…I don't know, sad. Sad is probably the safest word I can say.
You were naked when you died, so did you kind of feel like, ‘Yep, they had to get me naked one last time' before I left?
[Laughs.] Pretty much.
Did that ever get to you though after a certain point, always having to take your clothes off? Obviously, you knew when you signed on it would be a huge part of the role.
It's True Blood and I know that I was a werewolf and that's what werewolves do. I worked really hard to get in the best shape of my life for this role. I guess I was happy that people responded the way that they did.
Is there a side of the character that you really wish you could've explored that you never got the chance to or a storyline you would've liked to see more of?
Yeah, he was packmaster for about five minutes. I think that would've been interesting, but I think it would've been interesting if he took over the motorcycle pack in season three. We never got to explore anything with Robert Patrick as far as backstory, where mom went, why the two of them never got along. I would've loved to work more with Chloe [Noelle] who played Emma, the little wolf, because I murdered her father and was half of the reason why she was orphaned, and the fact that Alcide didn't want to have kids because he didn't want to carry on his gene I think would've been interesting for him to have this little girl and karmically try and make up for orphaning her. It would've been very interesting. I think it would've been interesting if they stuck to the books where Sookie helps Alcide become packmaster…I think an exploration of his powers would've been interesting, smell-tracking, his strength, thinks like that. I don't know, it's a vampire show and I'm a werewolf, what are you going to do?
What do you hope Alcide is remembered for?
It's hard to say. Hopefully, my character will be remembered for his heart and having a big heart. But I will probably be remembered for taking my shirt off and growling. It is what it is. [Laughs.]
And do you have a favorite scene that sticks out for you when you look back on your time on the show?
The scene at the lake with Anna and Alex was really fun, when he drank the fairy blood and went out in the daylight and went crazy, so we had to go find him in the lake. It was Anna, Alex and then my wolf and I'm partial to any scene my wolf shows up in and that was just a really fun day. We had a lot of fun.
Obviously you said you were trying to be diplomatic when talking about how Alcide's storyline ended, but do you think that has impacted how you look back on the show?
No. No, I don't think so. Like I said, it kind of needed to happen. Better soon than later for me, honestly, because I had two movies I needed to go promote…I had Sabotage and I needed to go promote that and then I had La Bare, which I needed to promote. And in between, I had a whole bunch of stuff delivery-wise to do with the film and I had a book tour. I had all this other stuff going on on the side, so it was like my character wasn't essential, I mean I'm glad that it happened when it did because I had to go deal with all this other stuff and I wouldn't have been able to launch any of it.
What do you think you'll miss most about True Blood?
Probably the character. I just love that character so much. And the actors that I worked with. I really did enjoy the regular cast and everyone I was working with. I had fun.
And did you take anything from the set when you finished filming?
Yeah, I was always stealing stuff from set…I kept my sock at the end. [Laughs.] I'm going to frame it and put it in my guest bathroom, I think.
Were you sad to see Alcide go? What will you miss most about the character? Sound off in the comments!