'True Blood' Wolf Joe Manganiello Is 'Overwhelmed By Fan Attention' And Those Alcide Booty Shorts!

Although fans of "True Blood" already have their favorite characters including Eric Northman, Bill Compton and Sam Merlotte, there's a new heartthrob entering the mix this season — Alcide Herveaux, Sookie's werewolf protector played by "One Tree Hill" star Joe Manganiello.

Of course, Alcide is hardly a new character for fans of the "Sookie Stackhouse" novels from Charlaine Harris — those readers are already well aware of the werewolf's importance to Bon Temps' residential telepath. But did you know that it's actually the fans themselves that led to Joe's eventual casting as Alcide?

Speaking with Hollywood Crush, Joe recalled that a friend once showed him a website where fans were offering their own casting choices for several yet-to-be-cast "True Blood" characters, including Alcide. To Joe's surprise, his name was at the top of the list.

"As fans were posting pictures of who they'd hope would be cast as Alcide, some of them were posting pictures of me," he told Hollywood Crush exclusively. "That's how I found out about the books. I made sure to order the books, read them, and it looked like Alcide was described as pretty similar to me physically. I made sure I watched every episode, started bugging my agents and managers about it and that's how I wound up getting the part."

In other words, Joe's casting as Alcide owes no small thanks to support from the fans. His character hasn't even graced the small screen in a full episode yet, but Joe already feels accepted by the legions of Trubies — so much so that he's not worried about Alcide entering the arena as yet another possible love interest for Sookie Stackhouse.

"I had a good idea about [Alcide and Sookie's romantic potential] from reading the books — they get into it a little bit," he said. "You want the fans to accept your character, and I've been overwhelmed by the amount of fan attention on my character. It's been amazing, right from the get go. I think some of the other characters maybe have to get in there and work a little bit harder for it, but I've been so fortunate. It seems like there's been built-in fan support for my character."

In fact, support for Alcide isn't relegated to fans gushing about the character online and at conventions — some fans are making their allegiances known through fashion products!

"There are all these websites online that are selling Team Alcide t-shirts and sweatshirts. They even have booty shorts for girls," laughed Joe. "It's amazing! I told my manager that we're going to have a party for Alcide's first episode, and I told my manager that nobody's allowed to come unless they're wearing Alcide booty shorts!"

Are you one of the many fans that helped Joe Manganiello become aware of "True Blood" and Alcide Herveaux? Leave your support for the actor and character in the comments section!