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Neil Patrick Harris shows off 'crazy' body

By Breeanna Hare, CNN
updated 4:34 PM EDT, Sat May 10, 2014
<a href='http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/13/media/edward-snowden-wired-cover/'>Wired magazine has published a cover photo of NSA leaker Edward Snowden</a> holding the American flag in both of his hands, as if protecting it from the government. Click through the gallery to look at some other controversial magazine covers through the years: Wired magazine has published a cover photo of NSA leaker Edward Snowden holding the American flag in both of his hands, as if protecting it from the government. Click through the gallery to look at some other controversial magazine covers through the years:
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Neil Patrick Harris poses nude on the cover of Rolling Stone
  • His fiancé says he's gotten very slender as he portrays "Hedwig" on Broadway
  • The physical transformation is just one part of the role
  • Harris: "I'm playing overtly feminine and loving it"

(CNN) -- Neil Patrick Harris worked too hard at getting lean to let his physique stay clothed.

On the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone, the 40-year-old actor wears nothing but a bow tie and a very strategically placed top hat.

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"He's so skinny, and I think that really gives him power," Harris' fiancé, David Burtka, tells the magazine, which notes that Harris slimmed down enough to acquire an eight-pack. "His body is crazy right now."

The reason for the "How I Met Your Mother" star's effort is his new role as Hedwig in Broadway's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." The physical aspect is just a small part of Harris' performance, as he also has to convincingly portray the feminine aspects of the transgender glam rocker.

"I have always been highly aware of how I was presenting myself," Harris admits. "Which, now that I'm playing overtly feminine and loving it, is kind of a stupid concern."

The actor's fiancé has been just as impressed with Harris' talent as critics.

"I didn't think he could pull off the femininity of [the role]," Burtka says. "This is such a stretch for him. In his day-to-day, he's not a very feminine guy."

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