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SYFY WIRE The Fandom Files

Joe Manganiello's Dungeons & Dragons group is a who's who of Hollywood power nerds [Ep #104]

By Jordan Zakarin
Joe Manganiello

Now that nerds have not only broken through to the mainstream, but conquered and fully subsumed popular culture, there is just one taboo left: Nerdy jocks.

Athletes have long been positioned as the natural antagonists of geeks — and in many cases, they've earned that reputation — but according to actor Joe Manganiello, there's more crossover than most people might think. He would know; in an interview with The Fandom Files at New York Comic Con, the True Blood and Magic Mike star recalled splitting his high school days between being a three-sport athlete and rolling dice with his Dungeons & Dragons group. His geek friends would hang out on his front porch, waiting for him to return home from practice. Not only was he their dungeon master, but Manganiello also served as their de facto bodyguard, as he had no problem telling his teammates that he'd "beat their asses" if they even thought about messing with the nerds.

Fast forward 30 years and Manganiello is now once again hosting a Dungeons & Dragons game, though now, his fellow players need no such protection (and they meet in his very well-appointed basement, not his parents' porch). As he tells us in the episode, Manganiello's game is filled with a who's who of the industry, including Game of Thrones' David Benioff, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Vince Vaughn, and a number of other big names. Half of Hollywood seems to be in on the action — iconic rapper Chuck D. was so amped to find the game, he even drew sketches of each participant's character.

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