SAN DIEGO — Blast took part in a conference call interview session with Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay from USA’s freshman series “White Collar.”
REPORTER: It seems that both Neal and Peter seem to toe the line between right and wrong on the show, especially after seeing the cliffhanger in your fall finale. My question is what types of real life shenanigans have you gotten yourselves into that you can draw inspiration from?
T. DeKay I know we only have a little under an hour so I won’t be able to go through all of my real-life shenanigans. That’s a good question.
M. Bomer I snuck my brother’s car out of the driveway in the middle of the night and was trying to run over trash cans with it. I was 16 and I got a flat tire and literally tried to go to the gas station to put air back into it. It was nothing but shredded rubber and the rim. I came home and by the time I got home the rubber from the tire was literally slapping on the concrete so loud the entire neighborhood — my dad was waiting for me at the door and my license was revoked for quite some time. I wouldn’t say that I have the same kind of criminal savvy that Neal does.
M. Bomer If that’s not a shenanigan I don’t know what is.
T. DeKay That’s an excellent shenanigan; I can’t top that one.
REPORTER: Tim, the show obviously took a large step, something that you don’t always see in a mid-season finale. What did you like about that last scene and what can you tell us about the ramifications as we move into the second half of the first season here?
T. 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.
REPORTER: Natalie Morales and Jeff Eastin are both currently on Twitter. In order to get more followers, Jeff was putting out topless pictures of Matt and even offering naked pictures of Matt to get more followers. Are either of you planning to get on the Twitter wagon and, Matt, we want to see more topless pictures of you.
M. Bomer If you want to see more topless pictures you can tune into the season finale, as weird as that response was. But no, I will not be joining Twitter any time soon. I just don’t think that the day-to-day ramblings of my life would be interesting enough to hold an audience. Tim?
T. DeKay I’ve got quite a few pictures of Matt shirtless. No, I don’t have any. But if there is some Web site like, I don’t know, Hippie Shirtless or Shirtless Hippie or something like that I was told about as well. I don’t Twitter; I don’t think most people want to know about my daughter’s dance class or Little League baseball. I don’t think people would want to hear about where I’m headed or up to.
REPORTER: That last scene in the aired episode I don’t know if you can tell us this or not. Was it a coincidence or was it just a red herring or is there a reason, if you can tell us, that the actress that plays Kate looks an awful lot like with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen?
T. 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.
REPORTER: The season finale, everyone’s been saying, they had one hell of a twist that I really don’t think many people saw coming, if anyone saw it coming. How has this suspicion between the two characters changed the series, as it’s been the first half of the season to the last half of the season?
M. 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.
T. DeKay I couldn’t have said that better myself; I concur.
REPORTER: Matt, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far in the world of con men?
M. 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.
REPORTER: You tend to have very distinct fashion styles. I know this sounds like a really wild question to ask especially because it’s guys and you’re not usually in charge of your wardrobe. Tim, as an FBI agent, you seem to be pretty black suit kind of person, FBI kind of guy. How does the fashion style suit what you actually dress in real life?
T. 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.
M. 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.
T. DeKay You are trying to do that?
M. Bomer I’m trying. On any given day I’m probably in a T-shirt and jeans, but –.
T. DeKay I’m trying to do that, too. I think part of it is because when you’re in New York and the weather is a factor, you can kind of layer. Maybe I’ll wear this certain kind of overcoat or sweater. In L.A. it’s just what T-shirt, long sleeve or short sleeve.
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.
M. Bomer I think it’s so cool.
REPORTER: You have such great chemistry onscreen we were wondering what your off screen relationship is like and if you spend a lot of time hanging out together.
M. 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.
T. 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.
M. Bomer It’s true.
T. 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.
M. Bomer Agreed.
REPORTER: As actors, when you go through the process of trying to determine what your character is like and trying to get the back story, could you explain a little bit about how script can inspire your performance?
M. 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.
T. 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.
REPORTER: I’ve seen the screener for the episode coming up and I just wanted to know what we can expect out of the rest of the season. Can you tell us?
M. Bomer Even more car accidents, lots of violence.
T. DeKay A lot of death scenes. I think the Martians come back.
M. 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.
REPORTER: Do you have a favorite moment from shooting the episodes that are upcoming that you could share with us.
T. 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.
REPORTER: Can you give us a typical day on the set of White Collar, what you do and everything that goes on.
T. 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.
BLAST’S CONCEPTION ALLEN: I just want to say first of all, as a fan of both White Collar and your former show, Carnivale, it’s really nice to see you back on network television. I think it’s really interesting what you said about protectiveness. Your character, Jonesy, in Carnivale, who coincidentally is very protective of his group, the relationship is kind of similar with Peter’s role with Neal.
Having said that, I think that would, with the cliffhanger that it has, 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? Will they be caught up in the fray?
T. 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. That’s a good question. Everybody gets involved. It becomes a big family affair.
BLAST: That’s great because I think one of the things about the show that makes it good is that connection he has with the people in his life; he’s not just contained in his work. I think that it’s interesting how he has kind of a darker side, would you say?
T. DeKay Yes. You’ll see, but to that I think 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.