With Rat Pack swagger, Matt Bomer has been dominating as reformed con-man Neal Caffrey. In White Collar the Magic Mike star is sprung from prison by the Fed who first put him away so that he can help solve the sophisticated white collar crimes he once carried out. With his best friend Mozzie (Sex and the City’s Willie Garson), Neal leads a playboy double life that has kept viewers coming back for more like second helpings at Christmas.
Matt took the time to answer a few of OnTheBox’s questions about Magic Mike, life lessons from convicted felons and getting pranked by Sex and the City’s Willie Garson…
As a character who is a professional deceiver, Neal gets to tell some pretty fantastic tales, but what is the first fib you can remember telling?
I’ve never told a lie, I’m lying. (laughs) Is this going to be in print? Who knows, probably when I was a teenager – oh I know I took my brothers truck out when I was probably too young to drive and got a flat tyre!
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about con men or criminals from working on White Collar?
We have a former con-artist, reformed I might add, who acts as a consultant on the show so he’s always there to teach me the slight of hand stuff we do – so whether it’s pick a pocket, or a lock and basically how to make any con that Neal does look and feel as legitimate as possible. I do have the security of someone being able to call cut if I mess it up! I have picked a few locks though, maybe just blind luck!
When I spoke to Willie Garson, he told me that Don Cheadle had given him the nickname ‘Evil Willie’, do you have any nicknames that fans might not know about?
Evil Willie (laughs) that’s hilarious, Willie is an amazing guy and an incredible actor to get to work with, he’s such a distinctive personality as I’m, sure you know and that’s why he’s so beloved and known in the business by everyone. We haven’t come up with creative nicknames yet I’ll have to think of one.
I will tell you that when Season 4 DVD comes out, Willie pulled a pretty massive prank on me the day Magic Mike premièred and we caught it on film. Season 4 DVD you will be treated to a lot of Willie Garson – that’s all I can say!
Do you think the look of the show makes it extra appealing?
Oh absolutely our DOP Russell Fiennes (check) for the first 3 series was amazing, we were so lucky. The look he established was incredible and the fact the show looks up at New York City as opposed to concentrating on the dark, dirty, gritty corners and alleys that you always see in NYC filming which actually really don’t exist. So yeah the look he’s created has helped us enormously.
For someone who came to the city as a 22 year old bright eyed kid and get to shoot in all these iconic places like Columbus Circle and massive brownstone buildings with five storey chandeliers has been surreal and incredible.
Did you ever worry as an actor, that taking on the role of a stripper can glorify an industry that legitimises the objectification of men and women?
It’s a very real story. I am so grateful that people responded they way they did to the film, Channing’s story and Matt’s role, all the guys actually but when I signed on I thought it was a really small independent film that would be a small gritty story that Steven Soderbergh was directing and then it became something very different which is amazing and completely surprising. I’m so glad that Channing decided to tell the story and I got to be a part of it.
To me Steven Soderbergh is one of the artistic heirs to Robert Altman, was it difficult to adapt to that highly naturalistic, but stylised perspective?
It was fantastic, working with Steven Soderbergh, it was a dream come true and it was a great group of guys. It was like getting to be in a fraternity, which I never got to do in college so it was like entering into an endeavour that was quite intimidating (laughs) but everyone banded together and we all stayed after our scenes were done to watch and support everyone else. It was one of the greatest ensemble experiences of my career thus far.
If you could appear in any other TV show…?
Gosh that’s good, well drama definitely Homeland which I enjoy a lot but comedy, there’s a show here called Portlandia, which I’m not sure if it plays in the UK as it’s very cult here and it might be idiosyncratic to the States, or maybe Modern Family!
White Collar Season 3 – starts on Alibi at 10pm on Tuesday 19th February.