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Joe Manganiello gives insight to DCEU's Deathstroke decision-making

Apr 18, 2018, 5:47 PM EDT

The saga over Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike) taking on the role of Deathstroke continues, with the actor himself providing some insight as to why he wants to play the role and what he plans to do with it — provided he ever winds up playing the DC villain again. 

But first, some context, as the story with the DC Extended Universe films is a bit convoluted. (Oh, you’ve noticed?) Way back in September 2016, it was reported that Manganiello had signed on to play Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, as the main villain in the stand-alone Batman movie to be directed by Ben Affleck. But when Affleck backed out of directing, War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves took the reins for The Batman film and jettisoned Affleck’s script in favor of his own, which reportedly did not feature Deathstroke. 

So now Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2) is in talks to direct a stand-alone Deathstroke movie, with Manganiello attached to star.

Got all that? Good. Because it could all fall apart yet again in a matter of hours. Ah, Hollywood, you fickle, fickle beast. 

In the ID10T with Chris Hardwick podcast on Friday, Manganiello told Hardwick that he originally spoke with Affleck when Deathstroke was set to be the main villain of The Batman about what made the character tick.

After joking about the aggressively innocuous statement DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. gave him to read — “I am excited to not only be a part of the DC Universe, but to also be included in the creative vision of Deathstroke. I’ve always been a fan of the character and can’t wait for more of him on the big screen.” — Manganiello revealed that when he originally met with Affleck to discuss the role of Deathstroke, he never saw the character as a two-dimensional villain.

"When I met with Ben Affleck about Batman and he told me that the meeting we were having was for Deathstroke," said Manganiello. "This is a real opportunity to figure out who this guy is on the inside. Like what he’s battling with. Because the best quote-unquote … ‘villain’ is [the one where you’re] understanding where they’re coming from."

Manganiello explained further: "There are villains who are the people who are opposing them but from the inside this is a person who is struggling with all types of things. And I think it’s really interesting to tell that kind of a story and tell the truth emotionally of a story like that when you’re talking about a man who lost an eye, was betrayed, lost a son. These different types of aspects." 

In terms of where the character and the project are now, Manganiello was understandably coy.

"Somewhere along that way … there was talks with Gareth Evans and talks about an origin movie," he said. "I’m not giving news. I spent six months prior to all of those phone calls writing a backstory that was turned into 16 pages, which got turned into a treatment, which then led to my Skype call with Gareth."

So, for now, that’s where we’re at. Take a listen to the podcast (Manganiello reads the official statement about an hour in, and the discussion on Deathstroke starts at around the 1:07 mark) and let us know your thoughts.