BWW Interviews: Matt Bomer & Tim DeKay Talk New Season of USA's WHITE COLLAR
Matt, in regards to your new handler, Warren Kole, could you tell us a little bit about how Neal handles this, what's the chemistry like between you, and when are we first going to meet him?
Matt Bomer: Neal's initial reaction to Warren's character Siegel is one of trepidation because he is very by-the-books, by-the-numbers, and he's an agent who's gotten to where he is because he plays by the rules. And that's - it's obviously very threatening to Neal. And Warren did a great job of bringing lots of different aspects to the character and somehow making him charming and entertaining at the same time as Being sort of a paint-inside-the-lines guy.
Tim, could you talk about your relationship and how it will be with this character? Are you friends with him?
Tim DeKay: Well, Peter was - he was concerned about this guy even though he brought him on and felt that he would be right for Neal because he felt that Neal needed somebody with - that could give some Tough Love from a - that has a distance to Neal. Peter thought somebody from outside the New York Division would be better.
But there were some - there was trepidation as well on Peter's part because with that, with handing over the reins, he no longer get to, you know, no longer gets awry. And that's something Peter was going to miss. But as Matt said, I thought Warren did a fantastic job playing the role, and was able to find the right tenor for what was needed on our show and the kind of genre that we have.
Peter doesn't necessarily trust Neil still, but it's a different kind of not trusting I think than early on in the relationship.
It's huge moment for Peter to recognize Neal going off anklet and even responding because at one point in the relationship it would have been cut and dry. He wants off the anklet, he's going back to prison, no Bones about it.
But, you know, this relationship has grown in such a way where Peter knows, for the most part, where Neal was coming from. But to address your, you know, your question of trust, I still maintain that if Peter ever implicitly trusts Neal about anything, I think then the relationship and the show for that matter takes a very sharp turn, and I think we lose a great tension if that trust is complete - is gained completely.
Your series is popular all over the world. What is that like for you guys to realize that your show has had that kind of impact and what is it about the show that brings people in to watch it?
Tim DeKay : Well, I can certainly speak to how it feels to know that the show is welcome in many parts of the world. It's wonderful. I love it when I'm in New York or filming in New York and somebody from another country comes up and starts talking about an episode or is, you know, is complimentary to the show. I just - I think it's great that there's something about this relationship between the, you know, the cool criminal and the lawmen that is so universal.
Yes, I had a really pivotal moment when we were filming a scene in Central Park this season and in between I was trying to take some time to visit with some fans and take pictures and things, and it was like a map of the world between the pictures I was taking. One couple would be from Japan, the next was from Italy, the next was from Amsterdam. And it just went on and on.
And it was a really profound moment for me in terms of, you know, things you learn to appreciate as a show continues on into a fifth season, is that, you know, there's something the writers have created and helpfully we have too in the relationships and the characters that does transcend cultural or idiosyncratic bounds of one country or another and seems to relate to a lot of different people.
And then of course the second place in my mind was, where are my foreign residuals?
I'm kidding. It was a really great moment to - a moment that made - reminded me of how grateful we should all be to be there on the show, because it meant a lot to get that kind of response from all these different places.
Neal and Peter have basically switched places for all intents and purposes. We've got Peter in the orange jumpsuit, he's locked up, Neal is out. How does that play out? What was it like for both of you, both as actors and as the characters to be in those opposite roles?
Matt Bomer: Yes. There was a moment when we were filming a scene in the prison and I saw Tim in an orange jumpsuit, you know, clearly complete role reversal and the coin Being flipped. And I found that really interesting. Neal can obviously relate in many ways. He has a real sense of responsibility about everything that's transpired, even though his father was largely responsible. He's certainly feeling the weight of that as well.
And as someone who's been where Peter is, I think that resonates with him even more, and makes him dig even deeper into his bag of tricks to figure out how to fix it. Like a typical guy, he wants to fix everything. And...
And from an actor's perspective, I guess it wasn't terribly different because we had - I guess it was just more surreal for me personally because we had filmed the opposite side of the coin before, so, first of all, Tim looks great in orange. Fantastic color for him. And secondly, you know, it was a bit of a - it was a trip to see him on the other side of things and see how he handles it.
And of course he's such a great actor that I was just watching him planning on what I would steal in the next ten hours (in orange). Well, it was a trip to - I wish that - I wish that actually we explored that for a longer period of time even.
Tim DeKay: Me too. I think that was - but, you know, story-wise we couldn't, but I thought that would have been interesting had we kind of stretched it out a bit longer.
You had that great scene in the premiere where Peter basically acknowledges that he doesn't have the objectivity anymore to keep an eye on Neal. Were you glad to see him take that moment and have that speech? Do you think it was a humbling moment for Peter at all?
Matt Bomer: That's an interesting question. I don't necessarily feel that it was - it should have been a humbling moment for Peter. It was a disappointing moment for Peter. And he was upset because it meant - he had - unfortunately, he had to throw out the baby with the bathwater and it was upsetting for Peter because it meant not Being able to do the things that he love to do with Neal which is, you know, pursue a case and do the chase.
So that's what Peter found most upsetting. And also I think Peter finds Neal a - now has a personal investment with this guy. And if he fails- if that relationship, that partnership fails, then Peter has failed.
Matt, can you give us a taste for some of the things that Mark Sheppard's character is going to have Neal doing over these next couple of weeks?
Mark is an amazing baddie as I'm sure you all know from the many TV series you've covered when he plays baddies. You know, it's that deal with the devil. He has Neal under his thumb, which is obviously, especially for someone like Neal, not a very comfortable place for him to be. He has him at his beck and call and, you know, the - basically he can have Neal do whatever illicit behavior he doesn't want to have to take responsibility for to himself. Neal can't really put that much of a fight about it.
I can't go into too much detail without giving away certain episodes, but it's not a fun place for Neal to be and really doesn't have a leg to stand on in terms of opposition.
I love the interaction in past seasons between you and Treat Williams who portrays your father, because we really get to learn more about you as a character. Will we be seeing that again this season?
Matt Bomer: That was a storyline that I feel like needed to be fleshed out at some point, you know, at a certain point as television series progress, and have everybody get a little bit more into people's backstories. I think with someone like Neal, it's a little dangerous if we start to know too much about him because he is, you know, essentially, Jeff said, an almost a fantastical character in some ways.
I had a blast playing out those storylines with Treat and, you know, putting some of those pieces together for Neal, but we will not be exploring that any further in this season. This season really gets back to more of the early season White Collar mythology, strong themes of good Versus evil and trust and without going into too much detail about Neal's past.
Although - what Neal experienced from his relationship with his father and the things that I got to explore with Treat really resonate throughout this season and ultimately the emphasis for everything that transpires this season -- the sins of the father weighed pretty heavily into all the decisions Neal makes and sort of spur us into action this season. And so you feel that relationship even though it's not there.
How do you view the Neal and Peter relationship? Do you see each other as brothers, as friends, as coworkers?
Matt Bomer: I've always - I have this image of these two guys as very close friends. And I have this image of them playing poker together and enjoying it and realizing that nobody could really play the kinds of poker, the level of poker the other one does except with that other person. And I see them enjoying a game and having a good time with it, but never ever, ever showing each other's hands, and constantly bluffing or trying to bid differently. But again, never showing the other hand to the other person. But yet needing that game and learning from that game.
I don't know, sometimes Peter is a father to Neal, sometimes he is a friend to him, and other times he's his boss. It's layered. It's a lot of different relationships.
Yes. It changes a lot. But for me, it always goes back more to the familial with Peter, whether that be fraternal or paternal or sometimes, you know, a family member you have to work with. But for me it always goes back to the more familial because, much like a family member, Peter is the one character who is a source of stability in Neal's life in a strange way because he has - the only person Neal has been spending time with and there's healthy boundaries.
In regard of what happens, what transpires, he knows what the mathematical formula is with Peter. If he does X, then he will get Y. And to me that's sort of like family, because you can, you know, go out into the world and make mistakes and grow or change and you come back and family is still there with dinner on the table.
Tim DeKay: That's beautiful. I love the way you put that.
Matt Bomer: Thanks. I'm in a very poetic mode.
Tim DeKay: I love it, I love it.
How do you think this whole thing with Peter ending up in jail is going to affect his relationship with Elizabeth?
Tim DeKay: It affects it greatly, and Elizabeth's main concern is to get her husband back regardless of what it means to his career, what it means to anything. She just wants her husband back and out of prison.
And when big things like this happen, these two people, you know, they take a look at their lives and they take a look at how they - how Peter got to that place, and they, you know, they reassess and figure out what is the best way to go forward. And as Matt said, it's a lot of - big issues come up this season with where people are headed, what people are made of, and what they want to make of with their lives.
He's fed up with Neal's antics and rightfully so. He's got his own life to get back to.
Matt Bomer: And that's going to be played in this season.About WHITE COLLAR:
Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is determined to set the record straight and figure out a way to overturn the charges, which means striking a deal with the devil and returning to his conman roots.
Nothing is off limits, even if it means owing a major debt. Mark Sheppard returns in his devious role "The Dutchman," Curtis Hagen - the art thief the duo put away in the series premiere.
Guest stars for season five also include Emmy award-winning actor Zeljko Ivanek, Warren Kole, Bridget Regan, Richard Thomas, Kim Dickens, Elizabeth Marvel, Boris McGiver, Zachary Booth and Steven Pasquale.
WHITE COLLAR also stars Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Marsha Thomason and Sharif Atkins.
Shot on location in and around New York City, White Collar was created and is executive produced by Jeff Eastin and comes from FOX Television Studios. Jeff King and Nick Thiel serve as executive producers.
Photo credit: Photo by: Giovanni Ruffino/ David GiesbrechtUSA Network