Joe Manganiello didn’t have enough of the world of male strippers after 2012’s “Magic Mike.” After playing Big Dick Richie, Manganiello directed a documentary about a group of male strippers at one of the most popular strip clubs in the world, La Bare Dallas.
“La Bare” goes behind the curtain and stage at this popular strip club. It also takes a look into their lifestyles, backgrounds and lives as male strippers.
Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview with Manganiello earlier this week while he was promoting “La Bare.” We talked about the idea for this film, his passion for directing and the interesting characters of the documentary.
“La Bare” is released in limited theaters today.
Read our interview below.
Latino-Review: Where did the idea came from?
Joe Manganiello: It came from, even after “Magic Mike,” people still have no clue about male professional dancing. People still have so many misperceptions. The fact that no one has ever taken a camera inside a male strip club and shown what the lifestyle is. It was time to do that.
Latino-Review: What are you hoping that people would learn after watching this documentary?
Joe Manganiello: Well, everyone who had seen the screening said, “It’s not what I’ve expected.” It’s taking these people who are often seen as one dimensional or looked down upon. I don’t think anyone would look down upon these guys once you walk out of the theater. You’ll see these people as incredibly lovable and likeable people in three dimensions. So number one—that’s something.
Number two, people will talk about in their ride home on men and women are different. No matter what we have done in the past forty years to make men and women equal—we are always going to be different in certain ways. We’ll have conversations on how men and women are different and on how our fantasies are different.
Aside from that, every single audience we had, the entire audience is screaming, yelling, laughing and crying at the screening. It’s a real rollercoaster of emotions. It’s worth the price of admission.
So the big answer is entertainment. We’re going to entertain people. We are also going to make them think about some topical social issues.
Latino-Review: Tell me about La Bare in Dallas. It looks like you had La Bare in mind from the start despite there are other male strip clubs out there in the country.
Joe Manganiello: Yeah, there are, but I didn’t think they were on the level of the real man you’ll get in Dallas. I wanted real men. I don’t want out of work actors in Los Angeles. I didn’t want weird borderline gigolos in Las Vegas. I wanted real American guys like a former college football player. There’s a former Army Ranger. I wanted guys who come from a good family background. I wanted the real Americana. And I wanted real American women who are going to see them and not a transient touristy crowd in Vegas.
I wanted to show this almost scientific control group as possible. It’s to take a glimpse to see real people. It’s not actors who are selected or won a casting contest. I don’t care. I’m not interested. I wanted to be a fly on the wall and take people inside it.
I knew on how interesting it was while I was on “Magic Mike.” I wanted people to experience and see on what I saw.
Latino-Review: This really hasn’t been done before—so how did you get La Bare to agree with this? Especially with the characters of the strippers of La Bare to agree with this?
Joe Manganiello: You have to respect the art. The fact I was in “Magic Mike” to begin with—there’s a level of street cred you’ll get. I was Big Dick Richie in the male strip movie. There was some kind of respect for me since I was seen as somewhat of an insider. And we did make a good movie. It presented male stripping in a positive light and brought it up from the subculture to the mainstream.
On the emotional level, you’ll have to earn the trust for people to open their hearts and lives to you. Along those lines, these guys had become my friends. They know that I care about them. They know that I just wanted to tell their story. It was going to be better for all of us. We did build that trust over the time that we were filming.
Latino-Review: Now what was the greatest difficulty you had to endure during this production?
Joe Manganiello: The filming was pretty smooth. It was difficult, however, on getting the last few guys who were in the parking lot when Angelo was murdered to open up. There was a lot of hurt that they didn’t want to dig up. There was a lot of anger, because they gave their deposition to the police department and nothing happened. The murderer was not locked up. The murderer did not go to trial. He was allowed to walk.
I think there was a lot of justifiable resentment. So getting back into it was really difficult for a handful of guys. I have to give them all credit because they did show up and we couldn’t make this movie without them.
Latino-Review: I understand you made this movie with your brother, Nick Manganiello, who was the producer on this project. How did that go?
Joe Manganiello: It was pretty great. It was always our dream from the time when were we kids to do something together and work together. My brother went off and worked in the business side of entertainment for about eight years while I was working on the creative side.
So it was the right time and the right situation that presented itself. We started a company called 3:59 in the early winter of 2012. This was the first project we could get off the ground immediately especially if I was willing to finance it all myself. So we took that risk and we won.
Latino-Review: This movie also marked your directorial debut. How was that experience and would you want to do that again?
Joe Manganiello: I’ve been directing since high school. It’s something I’ve done, but nothing on this scale. It’s nothing that made its way into landmark theaters. I took a break from it and really focused on acting for the past sold fifteen years. I’m an actor for about twenty-one years. It’s nice to finally get back to on what was my first love—the complete act of storytelling. It’s from an idea of a story into a finished product. It’s nice to get back to that.
Latino-Review: So do you want to do more documentaries, narrative features or a mix of both?
Joe Manganiello: We’re going to do scripted features. This [project] was something we could’ve done immediately. This was something on the crust of the social conversation wave on the post-feminist sex relations. People can talk about it right now on what it means to be a man or a woman. It’s on how we’re the same and on how we’re still very different. It’s something that needed to happen.
It’s such a unique and fun challenge to make a documentary feature since it’s such a different filming style. You have to be really on your toes and make a split second decision. I loved it, but the next thing I’ll direct will be a scripted feature.
I know there’s a lot of talking of turning “La Bare” into a TV show. If that happens, then I want to film the pilot. I don’t think documentary is where I’m going to stay. I just go where the good ideas are. It’s on what we think it’s interesting of what hasn’t been told and what hasn’t been done. Let’s go find that. Let’s go do that.
Latino-Review: Do you still maintain good friendships from a lot of those people from La Bare?
Joe Manganiello: Oh, yeah. I’m on the New York press tour right now and I brought them on the talk shows with me. We just took the movie to Dallas. I even hosted a night at La Bare and after party. Those guys are all my friends. I care about them. I’m really invested in their lives. They are just great guys. Listen, I don’t make friends that easily. I don’t need any more friends. I don’t associate with people who aren’t on the level and who aren’t good people. At this point, there’s too much for me to lose. These guys are the best quality of human beings that I’ve never met.
Latino-Review: Of course, there’s a new “Magic Mike” coming soon. Are you going to be in it? Did they teach you new tricks for the sequel?
Joe Manganiello: I will be Magic Mike 2. Yes. I did have my producer/director hat on for the past year and a half with ‘La Bare.’ At some point during the summer, I’m going to have to get back into it. I’m starting to think about new routines. Greg Jacobs is directing and [Reid Carolin] is writing. I had them over at my place as I screened “La Bare” for them. We talked afterwards on what’s going down in the new movie.
They certainly asked for my help and my input now [on my character]. Certainly, now I’m a male entertainment expert. I have a wealth of entertainment information. I definitely will have more of an input on what my character gets to do on this one. It’ll be a lot of fun and it’ll be great.
Latino-Review: Besides “Magic Mike” sequel, do you have any other upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Joe Manganiello: There is a movie I’m expect to shoot in early August, but it hasn’t been announced yet. It’s a really great project. I would first do that and then go straight into “Magic Mike.”
Our production company has a whole slate of really awesome projects coming up. We optioned this amazing book and plus a possible La Bare TV show. We also have another scripted pilot we’re working on. I don’t know where I’m going to find the time for all this, but I’m going to figure it out. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: [Laughter] You seem really buy. You have a full plate on your hands.
Joe Manganiello: I think it’s also interesting to note that seven of the characters are Latino.
Latino-Review: Oh, yeah? I did not know that.
Joe Manganiello: You got Angelo, who was from Venezuela. You got David, Elvin, Pablo, Cesar, and Iris who is the female stripper. So you got a whole wealth of characters of Latin descent. How often do you get that these days? It’s kind of a cool thing to have a cast like that which is that diverse. And we didn’t cast them either. It’s just something we stumbled upon.
And don’t forget Randy. He’s Mexican as well. He’s Master Blaster.
Latino-Review: [Laughter] Awesome. Thanks for that tidbit of information. I’m sure our readers are going to enjoy that fact.
Joe Manganiello: It’s great talking with you. Thank you so much.
“La Bare” is released in limited theaters today.