Nelsan Ellis admits his True Blood costar Joe Manganiello makes him want to be a better man—at the gym, that is.
Ellis, who plays Lafayette on HBO's hit vampire series, says he wasn't so caught up with how fit he was until…
"It didn't affect me until Joe came along." Ellis says. "You can see people on the set getting smaller and more cut. I held off because I like to eat but I was like, ‘I'm going to get to the gym,' because when you're standing next to Joe you look silly."
However, that doesn't mean Ellis is ready to strip down for the cover of Rolling Stone like Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgård famously did this summer.
"Naked? No," he says. "I'll have some drawers on or something. My daddy's a Christian. He's going to disown me. I'm already two steps out the door. I get naked on Rolling Stone and he's going to kick me out of the family."
We can't imagine Ellis' dad has any problem with his son's latest gig, playing Eddie Sweat opposite Diane Lane and John Malkovich in the new flick, Secretariat, the true story of the champion racehorse. "I knew nothing about horseracing," Ellis says. "My idea of horses is from when I grew up on a farm. They were big and they were dumb. But then I worked on this, I learned they are far from dumb."
He also learned just how down to earth Lane actually is. "She is a mother," Ellis gushes. "She's truly a mother. And more than that, she's a nice nice nice chick. She's a cool chick. You want to sit down and have drinks with her but if your button is off, she'll sew it back on for you."
As for keeping himself from staring at the gorgeousness that is Lane, Ellis laughs, "You don't because her husband was on set. Her husband is big."