Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay Interview (White Collar)

Matthew Bomer and Tim DeKay in White Collar

Recently, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay took part in a conference call with the press to talk about the return of WHITE COLLAR on Tuesday, January 19 at 10pm on USA Network.

Here are some of the things they had to say:

What did you like about that last scene from the Fall and what can you tell us about the ramifications as we move into the second half of the first season here?

Tim DeKay: Jeff Eastin approached me with that last scene a couple weeks before he was going to put it on the script. I said, “You’re the writer; this sounds exciting, let’s go for it.” I love the scene and I love the continuation of the scene as well. I think it’s some great writing and some great storytelling and very exciting and it’s a perfect cliffhanger. That’s all I’m going to say about it.

Was it a coincidence or is there a reason that the actress that plays Kate (Alexandra Daddario) looks an awful lot like with Tiffani Thiessen?

Tim DeKay: I’ve been asked that and I never realized that they look alike. Now that it was brought to my attention I do see the similarity, two beautiful women. I think it was, I don’t know, maybe the writers have something up their sleeves that I don’t know.

How has this suspicion between the two characters changed the series?

Matt Bomer: I think it actually comes to resolution pretty quickly. It’s not something that is as dire as it might seem; it’s something that resolves itself relatively quickly in the second half of the season. Ultimately it’s one of those things that ends up, I think, really bringing the two characters closer.

Tim DeKay: I couldn’t have said that better myself; I concur.

Could you speak to the development of each character in regards to the growth of trust and a sense of protectiveness between Neal and Peter?

Matt Bomer: In terms of trust I think that Peter is the first person in Neal’s life that he’s really been able to have that with, but I also think it’s an interesting dynamic that’s always kind of liquid between the two of them given their history and given the fact that Neal’s not really ready to jump over to the other side of the moral spectrum immediately. It’s something that he’s struggling with and it’s kind of his journey on the second half of the first season to figure out if I’m going to buckle down and be with the FBI or am I going to do whatever I have to do, legal or not, to find Kate. I think the trust thing is sort of everything in the relationship, but as opposed to normal relationships where it can be a little bit more black and white, in this particular relationship, it can be more liquid. He has more trust for Peter than he’s ever had for anybody else.

Tim DeKay: As far as the protection that Peter has for Neal, I like that observation a lot. At first, Peter’s protection of Neal was a bit self-centered. He’s protecting himself because he made that decision to take this guy out. But as time has gone on he’s gotten to know Neal in a different way and is now protecting him because he sees a great potential in this guy. He’s protecting him on more than just a professional level.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far in the world of con men?

Matt Bomer: I think the most interesting thing I’ve learned is how much of it is about just like a good actor does his research on a role and does all the homework he needs to do to know a character inside and out, the amount of work that goes into a skilled con artist’s game, the amount of research, the knowledge of the mark and the amount of confidence it takes to pull it off are all really fascinating to me. The similarities to the craft of acting are actually fascinating as well.

How does the fashion style in the show suit what you actually dress in real life?

Tim DeKay: I think that Stephanie Maslansky, who’s the costume designer, and the rest of the wardrobe team do a great job. They put me in mostly Brooks Brothers suits, a couple Burberry suits. For the most part they certainly can’t be too flashy. We keep pushing the envelope with ties. That’s what Stephanie keeps saying. Every time we get too flashy of a tie we get a note from USA Network.

My immediate reaction to this question is the fact that I love wearing a suit because I hardly ever wear a suit in real life. And every time I put on a suit I think I should wear this more often. I like wearing a suit. It heightens wherever I’m headed to. That’s why I love putting on a suit for Peter because it puts me in a different world than my own. I used to dress up; my dad teases me. He says this show’s haunting me because when I was five years old and I wanted to buy a suit and a fedora and there’s a picture of me somewhere like that, I’m leaning up against the coffee table, but kind of in a cool way with my legs crossed and I’ve got the fedora on. I’m about ready to walk up the street and ask Julie Buchanan if she wanted to take a walk around the block. This all just came back to me right now. That’s where it all began, enjoying wearing a suit. Even then I was kind of playing this guy who was certainly not me at five. I don’t know if that answers your question.

Matt Bomer: I’m definitely more of a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy. For me, I’ve learned a lot from Neal’s wardrobe. The fun part for me is just that it helps me get into the character. When you dress a certain way especially something as specific as Neal’s fascination with the Rat Pack, sort of the Marcello Mastroianni nicely cut suits with the thin ties and stuff like that. It just helps me feel like I’m kind of slipping into the skin of the character and forms the way he moves and things like that.
I always like to try to make an effort if I have to dress up nice, but I’ve definitely learned that you get treated a little bit differently when you’re wearing a suit. I’m definitely trying to make the effort to dress up a little bit more.

Tim DeKay: The other thing that I’ve noticed with the wardrobe that they give Matt is just, I’ll be the first to say it, they’re going to trap themselves because he can only wear a certain kind of suit because it comes from June’s closet. I was so wrong with that. It’s unbelievable the variations of suits and ties and outfits that they’ve given Matt to wear.

Matt Bomer: I think it’s so cool.

What is your off screen relationship like?

Matt Bomer: We always have fun and I can’t remember a day we have not been laughing and having a good time. I’m going to go out on a limb and speak for both of us and say that we both have been in the business long enough to appreciate what we’ve got going on this show and the fact that we like to work with each other so much and the fact that we have a network behind us. Thankfully so far people have been watching so I think we realize; we’re grateful for every day we get to work together. That’s certainly how I feel. It’s just been easy and fun from day one for me. Tim is just a great guy, the kind of actor you feel really safe working with because he just sort of says yes to whatever you bring to the table and then goes with it.

Tim DeKay: That’s the way I feel about Matt, to be honest with you. I really do. It is true, but even more importantly, Matt told me that I’m a good singer. I haven’t heard that in a long time. Matt complimented me; he said that I can hold onto the melody while he harmonizes, which I never knew was a difficult thing to do. Now I feel like I’ve got that in my back pocket.

Matt Bomer: It’s true.

Tim DeKay: Here’s the thing. You can ask; I’ll speak for both of us on this one as well, which echoes what Matt is saying. In order to be able to work with somebody in acting, it’s going to sound judgmental and I hope it doesn’t, but you’ve first got to think that person’s a good actor before you can enjoy working with them. I guess that goes with the trust. I like this person, the way they work; I think they’re a good actor. Great, that is done now we can just go from there and see what happens and listen and play together.

Matt Bomer: Agreed.

What do you think of the character of Neal? What do you like and what don’t you like about him?

Matt Bomer: I think you always have to be your character’s defense attorney. As an actor you have to find what’s likable about them and you have to empathize with them enough that you understand why they do what they do. I never really judge anything he did, but what I like about the character was that he wasn’t a goody-two-shoes and he didn’t just jump over to the other side of the law and become a good guy. I like the fact that he struggles with it and that he’s human and that he has real Achilles’ heel in terms of his sloppy romantic life. That’s where he makes bad decisions. For me those are the really fun parts of the character to get to play.

Tim DeKay: I’ve always liked Neal. I think Peter has always liked Neal. I’m looking through Peter’s glasses as well. I’m sometimes jealous of Neal. Peter can get jealous of that kind of life and sometimes doesn’t understand it. Not jealous that he breaks the law, but jealous that he has that carefree attitude that he can walk in a place with his hat on and be free about that. There’s something that Peter can’t quite, that’s just not in him. He wishes he had it. Peter likes Neal a lot and I think that’s a big part of what keeps Peter rooting for Neal when maybe he shouldn’t on the surface.

How do the scripts inspire your performance?

Matt Bomer: I think your text is everything; it’s what informs you; it’s what gives you the given circumstances. Then you take that and you add your own creativity and your own spin on things and you make it personal. That’s what makes that character and that text unique to you, when you personalize it. I think that’s where your job as an actor comes in. The text is everything especially in TV, which is really a writer’s medium.

Tim DeKay: I agree. The text and the words simply have to inspire you. If they don’t it’s an awful, awful battle that is not fun. If they inspire you it’s great, you fly. If they don’t you spend much of your time justifying what has been written for you. Fortunately that’s not the case here. The words are great; we get to fly off of them.

What we can expect out of the rest of the season?

Matt Bomer: Even more car accidents, lots of violence.

Tim DeKay: A lot of death scenes. I think the Martians come back.

Matt Bomer: They do. I think the intelligent procedurals continue, what I like to think of as intelligent procedurals as well as a lot of character development. In terms of my character, a lot of the stuff is coming to fruition that happened in the cliffhanger gets ironed out between me and Peter. Then my character really starts having to make the decision, is he going to operate for the law or is he going to do whatever it takes, against the law, operating outside of the legal system, to find Kate. That’s his struggle in the second half. He starts to push those boundaries a little bit more.

Do you have a favorite moment of the upcoming episodes?

Tim DeKay: There are so many favorite moments. The scene that I did with Kate was exciting because it just was very different for Peter. I think there are some really fun, on the set and with the writers, we call them Peter/Neal moments where it’s just the two of them. Those are the ones I enjoy greatly. You’ll see Peter go undercover a couple times, a few times, I think, in the second half of the season. He’s good at it; not as good as Neal.

Can you talk about your upcoming project, called Political Disasters?

Tim DeKay: It’s a movie that I shot a good year ago. It’s an independent film; I’m not quite sure what the release on it will be. I know that they just finished it up in post. It’s by a very promising young writer and director. I’m trying to get you some information on that, but I don’t want to say too much because that will be coming out soon. It’s part of a trilogy that I think is quite good, actually. Political Disasters, Natural Disasters and I think the other one is Plane Disasters; I’m not quite sure.
I’m also producing a film with my brother that my brother wrote. It’s called The Bride of San Lorenzo. It’s actually a bilingual piece in Spanish and English that is going to be done. We’re going to be doing it in Mexico. We’re going to try and start that sometime in the next month or two. We’re working with a production company right now.
Political Disasters by Zach Horton should be coming out soon so be looking for it.

What is a typical day on the set of ‘White Collar’?

Tim DeKay: The typical day starts very early. You get there and you get your breakfast and then we shoot about anywhere from seven to ten pages a day. We try to, depending on where we are. Sometimes we’re on location; sometimes we’re on the set. For the stages we have the FBI offices, Neal’s apartment, Peter’s apartment, Peter’s home. Sometimes they’ll build something else as well then everything else is on location. So half the day we may be on the stages and then the other half we have to go to some location. Then you’re dealing with these New Yorkers who want to be part of the movie or some cabbie’s mad at you because you’re taking up his street that he’s supposed to be driving down and we’re not supposed to be shooting. It’s a good, exciting 12 to 14-hour day.
It’s gorgeous. It’s amazing how many wonderful locations we’ve been to and how many homes. Every time I walk into one of these homes I just think really, somebody lives here in what looks like a museum? It’s astounding how many gorgeous, six-story homes are right in Manhattan, just astounding.

Is there going to be any sort of disruption with the supporting cast as far as their reaction to what happened, like Mozzie or Elizabeth?

Tim DeKay: That’s a good question. They will become part of that. They will become part of, let me say, not to get any spoilers out there, but they’ll become part of answering that cliffhanger, yes. Everybody gets involved. It becomes a big family affair.
All four characters – Neal, Peter, Mozzie and Elizabeth – as the season progresses you see all four of them mingling together in a certain way. It’s great. I think it’s one of the reasons why the show’s so special; it’s about the characters. The writers always write some very smart procedural, but really, it’s about how these characters are going to solve that crime. Not so much about you want to see the crime solved; you want to see how they’re going to solve it.

How do you think the series would change if roles were reversed, if Matt played the agent and you played the con man?

Tim DeKay: I don’t know. We’ve never had that question, I don’t think. When we shot the pilot friends of mine would ask me what I was doing. I would say I’m shooting a pilot about this con artist who helps out this FBI agent solve crimes. Most of my friends would say, “You’re playing the con artist, right?” It would be interesting. That would be fun. You just may have given us an idea for an episode where Neal has to play the FBI agent and Peter has to wear the fedora and be the cool ex con artist. Who knows.
Honestly I think parts of the show would be very much the same. It would still be Matt and me working together. You have stumped me on that one. That’s a good one; I’ll have to think more about that. One of the reasons I couldn’t imagine that is because I feel that the two of us, the roles fit us, I believe. We certainly enjoy playing these roles. I’m speechless on that one; I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.

Is there anything coming up at during the upcoming episodes, that takes Peter out of his element?

Tim DeKay: Peter has to go undercover as a massage therapist, chiropractor. That was fun. There’s a bit more action in the second half of the season, but I’ve always enjoyed doing action. I wanted to do skeet shooting. I’d just done it for the first time in Maine this past summer. I was all ready to show the boys how to do it.