Friday night, “True Blood” star and Mt. Lebanon native Joe Manganiello will walk the red carpet at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont for a 7 o’clock screening of his documentary “La Bare.” The film is a behind-the-scenes look at the world of male entertainment made popular in the film “Magic Mike” at the legendary club in Dallas. He starred in the runaway hit film directed by Steven Soderbergh and sprouted the seed for this project. It opens in select cities tomorrow.
Although this film marks his first foray into directing a major motion picture, he is no stranger to the craft, directing before he started acting. “I have been directing since high school. I started on Mt. Lebanon High School TV,” he laughs. “But nothing about directing can prepare you for financing a project and being responsible for it from beginning to end. I wrote every check, paid for the entire movie out of my own pocket. Some moments, it was overpowering.”
Mr. Manganiello has high praise for his brother, Nick. The two joined forces to start their new production company 3:59 Inc. “I was in awe of how good a producer he was. I was in awe of his ability as we worked this first project. He is brilliant.
“When you watch your kid brother handle this, it’s amazing. I come up with these crazy ideas and these crazy stories, and then my brother makes those things happen. He takes all of the unglamorous work and makes it look easy.”
Tackling this subject matter had its own set of challenges but nothing could prepare him for the serious tone that the film would have to explore when one of the club’s favorite dancers, Ruben “Angelo” Riguero, was murdered.
“It happened a few weeks before we started filming and there was no question as to whether or not we were going to incorporate it. The tone and delivery in handling this type of situation... as you know ‘male stripper,’ everyone laughs and giggles, but these guys work in the nightlife and an element reaches up and pulls somebody down.”
The documentary shows the underbelly of this life and he says that “Angelo” was considered one of the best in the world at his craft. “Everyone described him as Elvis. He was a free-spirited, handsome guy that everyone loved and he was gunned down at 27 years old. The guy who killed him did not go to trial and there is a cloud of conspiracy surrounding why. We made sure that we did justice to this young man’s spirit.”
La Bare has a life of its own and people travel far and wide to check out the entertainment in the club where dancers can pull down north of $100,000 a year. You see the workouts, the family life and the dance routines which have evolved from yesterday’s Chippendale dancers into a high-powered theatrical extravaganza that walks the fine line of sexy showmanship.
3:59 Productions has a full plate of projects, and Mr. Manganiello is eager about the future, including a romantic comedy in which he may star. But he hopes to someday bring a production back to his home town. “It is really all about tax incentives. I just optioned an amazing book that I have a CMU grad turning into a script.”
He has a lot of fond memories of growing up here, and bringing the film back to Pittsburgh was a must. “I want to make sure that people come out tomorrow for the screening. All of the proceeds go to benefit the Denis [in Mt. Lebanon] and the Hollywood theaters. They are the theaters that my brother and I grew up in and watched a lot of independent film in.”
The night doesn’t end when the film does. “We have an after party at Ivy Pittsburgh in the Strip District where I have some great auction items from Steelers, Pirates and other legendary entertainers. I will be auctioning some personal things as well.”
There are only 100 tickets available for $50 each (18 and over only) and a ticket will get you into the party as well. The film will be playing at the Hollywood Theater through July 6.
Visit www.showclix.com/event/Labare to purchase tickets.
Rosa Colucci can be reached at 412-263-1634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Published June 26, 2014 4:09 PM