Joe Manganiello currently has four movies in pre-production, including a sequel to Magic Mike. But even with his hectic schedule, he makes sure to carve out time for some gaming. At the top of his list is the long-awaited Destiny, an epic new first-person shooter from Bungie, the developers of Halo. Here, Joe talks to us about Destiny, his all-time favorites games, and the future of Hollywood and gaming.

Destiny, featured in our September issue’s Hot List, is available now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360.

Muscle & Fitness: When did you first hear about Destiny, and what got you excited for it?

Joe Manganiello: I’m a big gamer. I always have been. I was a big fan of Halo, and when I heard rumblings over the past few years that the company that created Halo left to take gaming to the next level––they had this idea for this project, this very ambitious project that they were going to try to hatch––I perked up. I followed the progress of it, and here we are. Tonight they’re getting ready to release what they’ve created, and what I’ve seen is pretty groundbreaking and amazing. I’m really excited.

M&F: I read Evolution. I see that famous “before” picture that you put in there. That scrawny little kid looks like he played a lot of video games. What kind of stuff were you into growing up?

JM: At that age it was definitely Atari 2600. That was probably the first console. It would’ve been that and computer games. I was probably playing King’s Quest, Space Quest, or Leisure Suit Larry.

M&F: Does it blow your mind to see this in your lifetime? To come from the Atari 2600 to what it is now.

JM: It’s incredible. It makes complete sense, though. You look at something like the movie Big where he’s explaining this comic book that comes to life. You can choose your own adventure, and it can go this way or that way depending on your choices… I mean, we’re there. And technology has gotten to the place now where it’s, in many ways, as good as movies, or at least as cartoons. So I just see both worlds merging as we keep going further down the line and the video game world only getting bigger.

M&F: Peter Dinklage lends his voice to Destiny. Would you like to be a voice actor in a game?

JM: Absolutely. I was actually slated—I was supposed to be in LA Noir, the Rockstar game they made a few years back. I even had my motion capture suit and everything, and they were having scheduling problems because they had to keep pushing my filming back, and I had to drop off the project because I needed to start filming True Blood every day. But I would love to get back in the gaming and be a part of it. I would love that. 

joe manganiello destiny red carpet

M&F: With True Blood, I know the last few episodes happened without your character present. But were you happy as a fan of the show with how it wrapped up?

JM: I only read the scripts; I haven’t been able to watch them yet. They’re still sitting in my TiVo. I’ve just been so busy that I have them DVR’d, but I’ve read the scripts. I think Brian Buckner and the staff of writers put together a really fun ending to the show for all of the fans.

M&F: With Magic Mike sequel coming up, does that put your training into overdrive? Are you going harder right now than you usually do?

JM: I mean, I’m not playing a supernatural character. I’m playing a human being, so there’s a side of that where even when I’m playing Alcide there’s a bigger difference to it. Certainly if I’m training for something like Sabotage, there’s a lot of differences. The difference is that my cardio is coming from dancing for two hours every day in rehearsal rather than on a treadmill, which is probably the biggest difference.

M&F: You mentioned Halo, and then some of the stuff from the Atari 2600 era. What about anything in-between? What are your all-time favorite games?

JM: Well, my real, real favorite games are—I mean going back—I think it was Pitfall II on the Atari 2600. From there I’d probably go with some installment of Space Quest; after that I would probably go Mario 3, maybe R.B.I. Baseball for Nintendo. I used to love that. And certainly Tecmo Bowl, and then from there I’d probably get into like Altered Beast comes to mind and once the Final Fantasy series started coming out for Sega Genesis, and then following those into the different PlayStation incarnations. Final Fantasy VII was huge for me when that came out. I loved that game. I was obsessed with that game. I love that and Red Dead Redemption. The Last of Us is one that instantly jumps to mind. That is probably my favorite game that I played in years. I mean I was scrambling this past year to get all my work done. There was like a good six months where I worked my tail off to get my work done so that I could carve out three days to just play that game: Go to the gym, come home, play the game.

M&F: The Last of Us was really groundbreaking. They’re going to make a movie. Would you want to read the part of Joel?

JM: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I love that story and it takes place partially in Pittsburgh, which is where I’m from. It was created and written by a guy who went to Carnegie Mellon, so there a lot of connections there.