Source: Are You Screening
Date: October 23, 2009
The reviews have been hitting like wild over the last few days, and USA’s White Collar seems to be getting great press (and with good reason), but so many of them have mentioned “bromance,” that I’ve got to set the record straight on that score. Mainly, that’s because I think this interview is about to show you that the stars have a different, clearer idea of the relationship, and it isn’t something that’s going to fit into that label well.
Matt Bomer’s con man, and Tim DeKay’s agent have a certain respect for each other, and to some extent a mutual envy, but it’s quite a while before they even manage friendliness toward each other, much less a bromance. While the show clearly rests on their relationship, and the many facets of trying to work together on a regular basis, they do not have a partnership in the sense of… let’s say PSYCH’s Shawn and Gus. They are decidedly at odds with each other, and don’t and/or aren’t able to trust each other.
The interview ended up one of those brilliant twists of fate, because we first got some time with Matt, then Tim joined us, and then Matt had to leave. The demands of the production schedule gave us the pair together and separately, and no one would have planned for such an arrangement, and it made for a very interesting time overall.
As was the case with Tiffani and Willie (we’re all tight now), Matt and Tim were just hopelessly genuine and a pleasure to talk with. Matt walked in looking for all the world like he stepped off set after playing some odd duck of a college professor, and Tim made you wish you were in a pub with him. It was a really great time, and if their understanding of their characters comes through
Be sure to tune in tonight, and remember that a comment here counts as an entry into the White Collar Prize Pack Giveaway!
I want to say thanks to everyone who played a role in making it possible for me to hang with the cast for a day, and USA for taking bloggers pretty seriously.
Here we go!
Matt: Thank you, thank you guys for coming and doing this and helping us out. [Totally]. You tell me what to do, should I just monologue? It was great. We shot right in the middle of Columbus Circle. So, it was completely surreal and amazing and one of those moments where you feel like you’re kind of in a dream. It’s like, I never thought that I’d be filming in the plaza of Columbus Circle.
Panel: Is it exciting to be able to film in New York, so you’re actually filming in the locations that you’re pretending to be at? As opposed to, you know, here at a side street in Toronto and pretend that, you know—
Matt: Yeah, no, New York can’t be replicated. The energy of it, the architecture, the cabs honking and cursing you out right before they call “action.” It just can’t be replicated anywhere else and I think it’s so inherently a character in any film or TV show that takes place there. So, it’s just an unbelievable blessing to get to work here and feed off that energy. It just informs the show so much and the characters so much and the rhythm so much.
Panel: What did you think of the character when you initially read the pilot episode? Like, did you like the person that you were about to play? What were your questions? What did you think about your character initially?
Matt: Well, what I loved about him from the get go, was that he was flawed. He wasn’t—I mean, he had this—he has this veneer of the charming, hyper-intelligent, eloquent, sly mastermind, but underneath, he was really a kind of diehard romantic who would go to any lengths to find the love of his life. Not only was that his motivating force, but it was also kind of his Achilles heel, because then it ends up getting him caught and—but I liked the fact that, even though the fun he puts on is so suave and debonair, underneath there’s somebody who is also—has a hard time—has always really relied on himself and doesn’t really trust a lot of people.
Panel: Are there elements of that, that you would say match up with your own personality? I mean, what of him is already in you?[laughter]
Matt: I don’t want to say zero, because I mean, I like—I guess we all like to think of ourselves as romantics. But, I like to think of myself as romantic and I guess I understood that part of him and that’s—that to me, has always been the driving force. I mean, his compliance with the FBI and all that stuff, ultimately is really so he can get closer to Kate and find her.
So, to me, that’s the core of the character and that’s the part that I relate to the most. The suave and debonair stuff is, you know, really fun to get to play, but I would say that I fall short of the Neal Caffrey bar in terms of that. But—I’m trying to think if there’s anything else I want to say about that. Yeah, yeah, hi.
Panel: So, he—Neal, lies with ease and sort of breezes through life without—what do you think, besides romanticism, is his—are his redeeming qualities? Because he seems like kind of a—[laughs] you know, my beautiful house and my beautiful lady [indiscernible].
Matt: Well, good, I mean, I want people to—I don’t want people to think he’s the perfect guy. I want his flaws to come out, because that’s what it means to be a human being. Human beings are good, they have shadow, every single one of us has redeeming qualities and every single one of us has qualities that people can hold against us. That’s what makes us human.
I’m not interested in playing characters who are perfect or who are, you know—I think the fact that he does try to create that life for himself, is what makes him human and is his redeeming quality. Because he’s trying to cover up for ultimately a life before that that was really, as a kid, probably really unfulfilling. And, he—that’s his way of controlling and controlling his environment, controlling his life, having some sense of control. And, you know, I think he’s some—but he—I don’t think he’s somebody, he is somebody who wants to have fun in any given circumstances.
So, if he has the option of $700 a month getting him a flat in the ghetto, or an amazing house with Diahann Carroll as my landlady, that’s what I’m going to choose. He finds that. He has—he—I mean, he just puts that in his circle, that’s what he finds, he finds a way to live life to the fullest on whatever he’s given. Because I think when he was younger, he did not have any of those things. I think he’s somebody who from a very early age, had to fend for himself.
Matt: And, he does with lie with ease. He’s a social engineer, that’s his job.
Panel: So, what do you—like, you seem to have all this whole back story, like, are we going to see, as the season goes on, more of his back story? Like, where did he learn it all and how did he go from a guy who’s, you know, just trying to make his girlfriend happy, to [indiscernible]—
Matt: You know, I hope, honestly, that that can come out in certain moments through my performance. I want the character to maintain mystery. I want him to—if I had my way, I would hope that by the end of—if we were blessed enough that by the end of the last episode of the seventh season, you still wouldn’t know everything about Neal Caffrey and you still wouldn’t know if he was playing you or if he was telling you the truth.
Matt: But, you know, his profession, I don’t like to think of it as a con artist, I think of it as a social engineer. He’s—I think he’s kind of—I’ll tell you this, I think he’s probably somebody who from a very early age, had to get his—had to find out a way to get himself to school and probably first learned how to lie to people as a kid, to get his bus fare, you know, and it only grew from there.
Panel: Now as far as his role, you know, as a criminal mastermind, what type of real life research did you do? I mean, are you hanging out in a prison? Are you—[laughs]—
Matt: Well, I don’t want to give away all of the secrets of the research I did, but what I can tell you is I read a lot of books. Everything from, you know, obviously Frank Avengale’s memoir, Catch Me If You CanCatch Me If You Can, to a lot of just books about social engineering. Most of them written by people who were in the same circumstances. A guy named Kevin Mitnick, who wrote a book called The Art of Deception that was very informative to me and he was a social engineer who them became—he, you know, does some kind of high tec computer software engineering. Because from a very early age, he had to fend for himself and he learned how to break into all the computers before they had any kind of security that could defend against it. So now he develops that kind of software.
But I read a lot of books, and then I also tried to get some inspiration from films of the same ilk and the same genre. Everything from, you know, Danny Ocean in Oceans 11, to Cary Grant’s character in To Catch a Thief, with even a little bit of Ferris Bueller thrown in there.
Panel: So, you’re kind of thinking of that and channeling that when you were kind of getting into that lock and getting into that character, you’re putting all of that together with that background?
Matt: Yeah, I mean, I think there are different elements that you use for different scenes. Like, you know, the other day I was trying to milk a little extra sympathy out of Elizabeth, Tiffani Thiessen’s character, where she’s helping me after I’ve, you know, hurt myself. And, I think that was more like Ferris Bueller. Whereas when I go underground to bust the Chinese gambling ring, it’s more Danny Ocean. So, it just depends on what the given circumstances are.
Panel: So in your opinion, what are some elements of White Collar that help it stand apart from other crime dramas that we see on TV?
Matt: Well, I think—I always say I think before I say—please cut that out. [laughs] Because it’s just—I should just say it. The signature of USA Network is, characters welcome. So, first and foremost, you’re going to get all the great procedural stuff. It’s really intelligently written. We’re—I’m no fool, I know this is a writer’s medium. You can put the biggest stars on the TV screen, but if the writing’s not there, the shows aren’t going to last and we’re so blessed to have Jeff Easton at the helm. Because these scripts are really smart and fun and unique. The White Collar world is unique, hasn’t really been completely explored yet and so you’re going to get all the fun procedural stuff, but at the same time, there’s going to be a lot of character elements that come into play as well. That keep it light and fun and sometimes serious.
So, you do get more back story elements and a lot of interplay, fun interplay between characters that you might not get on a show that’s straight procedural.
Panel: They plan to keep a lot of that humor and to break up the [indiscernible].
Matt: Yeah, oh my gosh, yeah. I mean, it varies from episode to episode, but there are always—there’s always moments of levi—there are always moments of levity in every episode, yeah.
Panel: I think your character is really likeable, especially for the ladies. [laughs] [Indiscernible] I mean, he is a thief and a con man, so do you think he’s a good guy? Do you think he should be liked? I mean, do you want him to be liked?
Matt: As an actor, you can never judge the character you’re playing. I think—I just said I think. I want, like, an electric shock that goes up my [indiscernible]. If you approach a character from a place of judgment, you’re really digging yourself a hole as an actor. So, what I try to focus on is who he is and what motivates him and play the truth of it. I really can’t concern myself whether people like him or don’t like him or think he’s a good guy or a bad guy. I can only play what’s written in the given circumstances.
So, even if you’re playing a serial killer, you don’t think of—to go in from a place of judgment, you might not agree morally with who they are or what they do, but to play them truthfully, you have to try to get in their world and under their skin and look through their eyes. So, I tried to mine out some qualities with Jeff from the get go, that I thought were more redeeming. You know, I think there’s a really quixotic quality about the character and ultimately, underneath it all, he’s kind of a three-year-old. I mean, he doesn’t have a lot of impulse control. He doesn’t even understand the concept of no. There’s always a way to get into things and he’s always testing his boundaries.
So, there’s a certain part of that, that I hope will come across as interesting and fun and unique and not something you’re used to seeing from a criminal mastermind. But, you know, you just try to go as deep as you can and play the truth and good, bad, nice, evil, whatever is going to play itself out.
Panel: Can you tell us a little about how you became involved with the project and your audition process and how that all went?
Matt: I just had—I mean, I’m sure they had probably a pretty big list of actors. I came in and did the initial read and then I tested once, they still weren’t sure if they wanted me for the part and then I tested again and then got the part. And then—is it okay for me to say all that stuff? [laughs] Somebody might get mad at me in the network. But, what’s great about the network, is they really take their time to find the people they really believe in and you really got to win them over. And, that was really, ultimately, a very rewarding process for me.
Panel: At what point in the process did you and Tim test together?
Matt: I had had the part for a little bit and then we went to find Peter and from the minute Tim stepped in the room and the first word that came out of his mouth, I was, like, I said, this is our guy, you know, he’s amazing. Tim’s such a wonderful actor and such an amazing human being and a real blessing to get to work with every day. He has this Midwestern quality about him, this sort of wholesome quality that you can’t teach anybody. You can’t—you either have it or you don’t and it plays so intrinsically into the character, because as gruff as he is and as hard as he is, you also believe that his heart is soft enough that he would ultimately empathize with somebody like Neal.
So, I think that’s what I recognized right away and just his playfulness and he got what was funny about the character. He got what was interesting about the character. He got what made their interplay interesting and I’m just—I feel really lucky to get to work with him.
Panel: Now speaking of the interplay, I know, like, your character works more from instinct and impulse and then, you know, Burke is definitely more analytical and, you know, deliberate with everything that he does. And, that really make the characters playful and work together in the story. How do you think that translates to real life? I mean, do you feel like you’re more on the deliberate side? Or are you more on the–?
Matt: Am I more on the deliberate side or am I more—
Panel: More impulsive and [indiscernible].
Matt: Am I more impulsive? I would like to say that I’m not impulsive, but I’m still pretty impulsive. I think—
Panel: You’re not making lists at the grocery store—
Matt: No, no, I think—especially on the work schedule I’m on right now, I think I’m taking it moment to moment. But, maybe that wanes with age, I don’t know, I hope I always stay pretty impulsive, but I’m not really—yeah, I like to just go moment by moment.
Panel: So, would you say, between the two of you, like, each of your personalities, you actually do have an element to that in your real life, of him being a little bit more of that [indiscernible].
Matt: Yes, I would say so. Tim will always be out there waiting when the van is ready to pick him up. I might be five or ten late.
Panel: How did you guys, you know, once you knew all the cast members were in place, did you guys have—like, how did you and Tim bond? Or how did you, like—because you have such a different social dynamic with each person, like you said, social engineering, you know, how did you kind of network with these people off camera, in order to build what you have on camera?
Matt: Gosh, I don’t—I never really even thought of it like that. I just tried to get to know everybody and see what their process was and see what their—what they wanted to bring to the table. We had a table early on, very fortunately, so we kind of got a sense of what everybody was going to bring to the table. I mean, I did look at them in terms of—in certain terms, of a social engineer, but I tried to let all that stuff come out in terms of just the scene working, which is ultimately, there’s always some kind of agenda behind Neal’s actions. Whether he’s charming you or wooing you or, you know, confiding in you, whatever it is, there’s something else to be gained usually. So, I guess I just kind of thought about what that would be with each character. But, in terms of our personal relationships, I just tried to have fun with everybody and be playful with everybody and let them know it was a safe environment to do that, on and off camera.
Panel: What’s something about you that we won’t find on, like, an IMBd page or your bio?
Matt: I always try to answer this question and I always sound like an asshole.
Panel: No, you don’t have to be, like, snappy, just something—like, I don’t know how people answer that question, be, like, I really—like, reruns of the Golden Girls. Like, just something [indiscernible] something about you that we’re not going to know if we, like, read your bio online.
Matt: I don’t know, I mean, I’m pretty—I’m a pretty chill person. I’m kind of a homebody and I like to just hang out with friends and have dinner. I’m not, you know—I’m definitely not Neal Caffrey in the sense that I’m not, you know, drinking a $500 bottle of wine at a nightclub. I’m just—I’m pretty chill [indiscernible].
Panel: Like, what’s on your DVR? Like, I work for a pop culture website, so we—[indiscernible] watch a lot of TV, so what do you—like, what are your—
Matt: 30 Rock, it’s very eclectic. 30 Rock, college football, which I never watched—
Panel: [Indiscernible] which team, we have to know.
Matt: Well, I would love to say my alma mater, which is CMU, but they’re division three, so that’s, like, basically the same as my high school. But, my sister went to UT, University of Texas, so I got to say I hook them.
Panel: You can watch a game on DVR though, like, how do you now know who won if you [indiscernible].
Matt: Well, that’s the thing, well, believe me, with the hours I’m working right now, I have no clue. But, you know, a lot of times the game is white noise, I’m not going to lie, but I’ll have that, if it’s an important game I want to see. Or, I also like—I really like—I wonder if this is our competition. [laughs] What’s—I can’t even think of it, my brain is so full of lines and monologues right now. What’s the show—Dateline, is that our competition?
Matt: No? Good, Dateline—
Matt: Maybe I’m super morbid, I don’t know, I never got into it till this year, but Keith Morrison, is hysterical there—
At this point Matt did an inspiring impersonation of Keith Morrison.
Matt: He could be, like, she didn’t know. [laughs] [Indiscernible] little did he know, she was weaving a web he could never escape from. But, he’s so sardonic, he’s so—I’m, like, you are so cold. How could he be so sardonic about this? I saw it, oh my, genius, I can’t believe that it’s not more appreciated.
Panel: [Indiscernible] Chris Hansen in that, To Catch a Predator [indiscernible].
Matt: Yeah, yeah, so I guess maybe that’s a little morbid, I don’t know, but—
Panel: Do you watch Dollhouse?
Matt: I—you know, I watch it whenever I can to support Eliza, yeah, but she’s fantastic on it. Gorgeous and hot and all the stuff she should be on that show. It’s really cool, I mean, I think Joss is obviously an amazing mind. So, the stuff they’re kind of unfolding on that show has been really interesting and cool.
Panel: Are you having fun wearing all the different costumes with, like, you know, prison and then you wear these really hot, like, suits?
Matt: Well, you know—
Panel: You look really hot—[laughter]
Panel: Sorry, [indiscernible] sexiness, and it’s so you.
Matt: Oh, speaking of accidental sexiness, hello [indiscernible]. I have to say, I think the wardrobe really informs the character greatly. I mean, you know, when I put on one of those suits, like, you feel like one of the Rat Pack guys, you feel that kind of—yeah, and the fedora especially, when you get it down over one eye and you feel like maybe you can trust me, maybe you can’t. There’s something about that that really helped me kind of get into the skin of the character.
Panel: What about the hats—what—did you already know how to do that? Or is that something you had to practice for, like, a month?
Matt: No, I had to practice, yeah. I—that was something that Jeff had told me I was going to have to do and had kind of given me, like, a two second tutorial and then, like, good luck. So, I did it on my own, but then of course when we got to filming, I got the wardrobe, maybe the day of or maybe the day before. So, I think I stayed up for a good while the night before, because every hat has a different weight and balance to it. So, I was definitely spending some time trying to familiarize myself with that one, so we could get it. But, I think we ended up getting it on the first take.
Tim: Perfect, first take.
Panel: This can actually be for both of you. Hi welcome.
Panel: You both have had a lot of experience working with a lot of different television networks. How is working with USA? I mean, they approach [indiscernible] like you were saying, like they take—they very strongly support their dramas, you’re at what, thirteen episode thing? Like you know yourself in thirteen episodes, you’re not, you know, going to come in to work and find out some show on the CW is already cancelled.
Matt: Yeah, [indiscernible].
Panel: And, how is it in terms of—obviously not [indiscernible]?
Matt: No, it doesn’t, no, it doesn’t stop. No, that is a great feeling, artistically, it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve got—you know, go do thirteen, go do a bunch, as opposed to oh, we got four and they didn’t kill us yet, we got four more, they didn’t kill us yet. So, you feel, there’s a comfort there and I think they stay true to their logo, characters welcome. They—as opposed to some other networks I’ve worked on, namely HBO, it was more—HBO, interesting, they shot all of their episodes before they aired the first one.
So, they were much more—they were much more concerned about the art of the entire season and—but it feels like USA is more concerned about the characters. I think that’s what drives their shows. So it’s fun, as an actor, it’s great.
Tim: Yeah, I would say—and it’s going to totally sound like I’m kissing ass, but I don’t care, because I would say it whether I was on this network or not. I think—I really believe Bonnie Hammer is one of the best minds working in the entertainment industry today and I think the network, you know, it all bleeds down from the top. And, I think they really take their time with material, with casting, this—you know, this was not something that—where we were cast, we’re shooting the next day.
They really believe, only pick a handful of things to do and really believe in them when they do. And, then support them when they’re there. I don’t feel like I’m on a network where there are seven pilots that have been picked up that I have to compete with for the network’s attention. We have been—they have been so hands on, they’ve been so supportive from the get go and just having that feeling to kind of bolster your confidence as an actor and knowing that they believe in you, it really does help on the set.
Panel: Neal and Pete have such a—like, a married personality and a—they almost have, like a little romance kind of [indiscernible]. How will that play out as the series progresses? Like, what kind of [indiscernible] relationship will you guys explore?
Tim: It’s still—I think that’s a big part of the show and it continues on, you know. We both—I’ve said that we both respect each other. There’s an odd respect that we both enjoy and we know that each other enjoys solving something. Now I—Peter looks at it different, solving something than Neal does, but they—it’s—and Peter is aware of that. So, he can have Neal go do—perhaps do something that shouldn’t really be done, but he does it. And, I think that out of that, they—and deep, deep, deep down inside, they like each other. They just—they do, they do, they like each other. They say, you know, Peter will tell me, he’s a pain in the ass, blah, blah, blah, but at the end of the day, it’s, like—
Panel: You’re cool.
Tim: Yeah, well, there’s an episode that we’ve just shot that I think is very telling. Peter has some time off. He has some time off and very telling as to what he does with that time off.
Panel: Your co-stars sound like pretty iconic roles from earlier things that they’ve done. Like, Willie Garson from Sex and the City—
Tim: Do you mind if I answer that one really quick before—
Panel: Oh, sorry, go ahead.
Tim: I would just say, in terms of perpetuating, I would even go further and say that really, the relationship between these two characters is really the center of the show. And, I think what makes that relationship interesting and something that will continue, they’ll always have things that they clash on. I think Peter is fundamentally one way and Neal is fundamentally one way and they’re both adults, so that’s probably not going to change too drastically.
But, I think they have a certain set of strengths and weaknesses that compliment each other well in terms of solving cases. And, so as the series progresses, we sort of find—we get a better idea of what those are and what is interesting is that Neal has so many things going on, but ultimately, the person who effectively ended his—ended, for now, his career as a social engineer, is also the person he really trusts more than anybody. And, I think that’s an interesting dynamic as well, because there’s the complication of he’s also the person who took something away from me.
Panel: Well, I have kind of a follow up question about that, because [indiscernible] but one of the things that really struck me in the pilot, was how—I mean, because Peter hunted, for lack of a better term, you know, for years before he actually caught him four years before the pilot took place. Yet it seemed as though he really kind of agreed very quickly to team up with him. I mean, what are—like, why do you think Peter agreed to that as quickly as he did? Like, why don’t you think he tried to kind of resist it longer? I mean, it seems like their friendship really—I mean, it happened, I mean, it’s there.
Tim: I think he agreed because we only had that prison location for two days. [laughs] I asked myself that same thing, that’s awful quick [indiscernible]. My wife can—helps me with that, but there is—in addition to solving the cases, and in addition to liking each other and having a very close bond, very close one, there’s another element here and that’s Kate.
And, I—and that was—that was a factor when Elizabeth tells Peter—Peter’s saying, there’s more to this, there’s more to this than just some lost love thing. And, she thinks—and she asks him, “Really? You think so? You wouldn’t do this for me?” What? Yeah—ah [indiscernible] it just—it’s—I—also I think for Peter, it’s that much more fun, it’s that much more fun. It’s, like, wow, I got—he’s now in the car with me!
And I can ask him all these questions that I’ve been dying to ask and—even though—ah, I envy his lifestyle, to a degree. This is kind of neat. I mean, he’s—you know, Batman now can have the Joker, the Riddler, whomever you want to [indiscernible] with him.
Matt: And, there’s the opposite too, sorry to interrupt you. There’s the opposite too in that I am—I envy and find fascinating his family—his domestic family life. I’m fascinated by what’s it like to have a real family and a life where you can just settle down and you have breakfast together in the morning and all this. Because I don’t think I ever understood those kind of things. So—
Panel: It seemed like the chemistry between the two characters though was that aspect of, that, you know, you were his nemesis and he spent so long chasing you, that he came to know you and to respect you. You know, you had to put so much effort into finding him and he had to put so much effort into evading you, that it was almost a relationship built in that aspect. And, now suddenly it’s, like, what’s he really like?
Tim: You’re right, we kind of knew each other, we kind of knew each other. He sent me birthday presents and—right, we kind of—cookies—
Tim: Right, we knew each other, we knew each other. And, then the other element that’s great, that’s written in this, is that there’s no—the whole element of violence is not in it. You know, so it’s—so that sense of being together could—is he going to pull a knife on me? Pull a gun—that’s just not in there. So, it’s not that—
Matt: It’s also not Neal’s nature either. He’s not a gun guy, he’s not a knife guy, he’s a mind guy.
Panel: I’m taking another stab at my question.
Panel: [Indiscernible] audience. So, yeah, you have co-stars that kind of had, like, pretty iconic projects that they were tied to before this and I mean, I’m dating myself, but, like, Tiffani as Kelly Kapowski, then Valerie on 90210 and has done a lot of other great shows since then. But, and like—
Matt: That’s not dating yourself. [laughs] If you’d been, like, going back to Diahann Carroll’s show—
Panel: Did you have any, like, and Willie Garson, like I said, from Sex and the City, I mean, these are characters that, like, the public sort of feels like you sort of have—you know them or you have a perception of how they’re going to be as people, because of their characters, which is completely ridiculous. But, did you guys feel like you had any preconceived notions of what they would be like from before you met them and now you’re, like, ah—[indiscernible] is my co-star. Like, it—what—I mean, how—what’s the dynamic like there? Did you think that you would take that into it?
Tim: I never saw any one—either one of those shows [laughs] or the other one.
Matt: Oh, I saw Saved by the Bell.
Tim: You did.
Matt: I saw Saved by the Bell, yeah.
Tim: So, I didn’t—I certainly knew Tiffani and I knew her face and knew of her certainly. But, I didn’t know her from those other two shows. So, it was great. She walked in, I had already been cast as Peter, she walked in, we gave each other a hug and I could tell right away, oh, please, please be good. And, it’s—and we read it and she [indiscernible] and I thought, oh, I think we found her, I think we found her.
Matt: I was just glad that there were famous people on the show. [laughs] [Indiscernible] I am.
Panel: I think—I mean, I knew from [indiscernible] and I was kind of wondering, just when I was watching the pilot for White Collar, like, I mean, obviously as an actor, any previous role you have on your resume, kind of helps you get the next job. But, I mean, it seems like—I saw a few kind of hints [indiscernible] like, that very kind of suave—like, now I’m here, now I’m not, kind of thing going. So I mean, did you—like, do you think other than just the fact that it was something on your resume, do you think that that role kind of helped you get the [indiscernible]?
Matt: Oh, I don’t think I ever could have played Neal Caffrey if I hadn’t placed Bryce Larkin because he helped me understand sort of the espionage aspect of—he showed—helped me understand the smoother—yeah, the more espionage aspects of the character and when he has to go undercover and things like that. And, sort of he’s cool under pressure and those kind of things and just maneuvering in that world and never really knowing who he can trust or if you can trust him either. So, it was definitely very helpful.
Panel: And, so just for a fun kind of question, for both of you, do you have a favorite scene or stand out moment from the coming season of White Collar, one that kind of sticks in your head as just really fun to film?
Panel: You’ve had no fun. [laughs]
Tim: No, we’ve had a blast.
Panel: Too much fun.
Matt: I know there’s too many to choose from right now. I really like—we have a stake out scene in one of the first episodes, it’s really, really fun. A lot of this stuff, when we go undercover together and we have to—and I, of course, get us into trouble and Peter has to bail us out or we have to use—any of that stuff where we’re just kind of given free rein to be silly and fun and playful and—we just understand the dynamics inherently, all that stuff is just criminally fun to film. No pun intended. Well, I should let Tim answer.
Tim: No, I’d have to agree, I was going to say that one. There—you know, what? If I could say one scene, probably that one. I think what’s really fun are the—between Matt and myself, I feel it’s just little moments here and there. Just—and not necessarily in one particular scene, just—
Matt: And sometimes it’s not planned, we don’t even know they’re there and—
Tim: Yeah, they just, boom, they’re there. Those are the ones that you really look forward to.
Matt: There was a scene we were shooting under the scaffolding that day where he was about to go in an undercover mission, assignment? I’m not the FBI guy. And, he—it was really dangerous and we hadn’t even really planned it this way, but I ask him, you know, like, what are you—what did you just [indiscernible] to me?
Tim: I—no, we were talking about it and it’s just one of those moments where Neal and Peter take a step further into their relationship
Matt: Where I was, like, wow Neal Caffrey actually cares about the well being of this person.
Panel: Ah, you’re brothers.
Tim: Yeah, and I—Peter asks him, what would you do? And of course there are no other FBI agents around to hear that question, but it was just one of—
Matt: And, I say, I would go home and be with my wife.
Tim: Yep, and Peter—it’s—we hope you find it as nice as we did. [laughs]
Matt: I watched the whole first season, I didn’t get that moment. [laughs]
Panel: I—actually to play off that, Matt seems—sorry, Neal seems almost as invested in Peter’s relationship with his wife as Peter is. And [indiscernible] and we saw the aspect in the pilot of Neal helping Pete, you know, discover his romantic side and, you know, how to learn more about her, how to—is that—does that continue? Is there, like, a Cyrano de Bergerac thing going on here?
Matt: Sometimes, yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s a steady theme in every episode, but it definitely happens and my—certainly my fascination with what it is to have this picket fence life, is alive.
You can read part 2 of the interview here.