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OTRC: Joe Manganiello: 'Sabotage' co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger is my 'childhood hero'

Joe Manganiello talks to OTRC.com about the film 'Sabotage' in March 2014.

Joe Manganiello was happy to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger, his "childhood idol," in the film "Sabotage" and is flattered by the veteran action star's praise of him.

The 37-year-old actor and heartthrob, also known for roles in the HBO series "True Blood" and the 2012 male stripper drama "Magic Mike," made his comments in a recent interview with OTRC.com ahead of the release of the new movie. "Sabotage" hits theaters on Friday, March 28. Check out 3 highlights from the interview with Joe Manganiello and watch it in full by clicking on the videos above.

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger - childhood idol

"Arnold was my childhood idol, so meeting him for the first time and hanging out with him, it was just like, 'Don't do anything stupid, dude, don't do anything stupid.' But with that said, I mean Arnold and I have become really good friends. We hang out all the time."

When asked what he thought about recent compliments Schwarzenegger paid him, via an OTRC.com interview Manganiello said: "Oh well, you know, coming from him, that's awesome. I mean, that's amazing to hear."

"He wrote the foreword to the book that I wrote last year," the actor added, referring to his 2013 fitness book, "Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted."

"I mean, I've read it multiple times and I still can't quite wrap my brain around the fact that the person he's talking about is me. So hearing that makes it all worthwhile."

In his foreword, Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Olympia, references the death of his mentor Joe Weider, a bodybuilder and founder of the Mr. Olympia competition. The actor says he asked Manganiello, his friend, to speak at Weider's funeral.

He noted that the two had something in common -- they both worked in construction before they became famous."

"When we worked on our film 'Sabotage' together, I immediately noticed Joe's passion for health and fitness," Schwarzenegger wrote. "Well, that isn't true. First I noticed his huge arms and cannonball delts."

2. Preparing for "Sabotage" was "eye-opening."

Manganiello took part in cop ride-a-longs to prepare for his role in "Sabotage," in which he plays a DEA agent on a team led by Schwarzenegger's character. He told OTRC.com that the experience was "very eye-opening."

"I had no idea that the world worked that way," he said. "The stuff I found out was very, very shocking. Where the money goes, who's got their hand in the cookie jar, it was shocking and a lot of it was really frightening."

3. On his "fight for freedom"

"I think it was time to be creative and to really fight for my creative freedom," Manganiello told OTRC.com, while talking about crossing off items on his career bucket list. "I think sometimes you're a part of projects that you don't agree where the story is going, you don't agree with what they're doing to your character."

"So it was really a fight for freedom," he said. "The interesting part is that I became friends with Arnold right around that time. He's somebody that is certainly multitalented and certainly has branched out in a lot of different directions. It was very inspiring and motivating too. Any time I would think, 'Well, should I take on this extra thing, or take on extra project?' and I'd look at Arnold and go, 'Take it all on.'

Reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

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