Matthew Bomer discovers many pros to playing a con

Source: Boston Herald
Date: October 22, 2009

There’s one big difference between actor Matt Bomer and Neal Caffrey, the character he plays on USA Network’s “White Collar,” premiering Friday at 10 p.m.

“If I ever try to pull anything off or lie to anybody or be untrue about something, I always get busted,” Bomer said during a recent conference call with reporters.

In the series, Neal is a criminal mastermind who escapes from a maximum-security prison – only to be caught again.

Instead of serving another jail sentence, he teams with FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) to bring down the bad guys.

“I would say Neal and I share the fact that we’re both romantics at heart,” Bomer said. “I think we’re both competitive and interested. And I certainly have moments in my life where I like to test boundaries with people. And I think Neal specializes in that.”

Neal escapes from prison because he wants to find Kate, the love of his life.

“One of the things that really attracted me to the role was that he wasn’t just this smooth, slick con artist out for money,” he said.

“Ultimately, what motivates really the entire performance in the pilot and what continues to motivate him through the season is he’s collaborating with the FBI in order to try to find Kate. And over the course of the first season, he gets little glimpses and takes steps closer and closer to her and starts to slowly unravel the mystery of where she is and what’s happening to her and starts to find out if there’s hope of them getting together again.”

Bomer felt it was important that Neal and Peter share a believable relationship.

“One of the things we fight for in every episode, and (creator and executive producer) Jeff Eastin does a great job of writing, is the fact that we really respect each other’s intelligence. It’s not like Tim is the bumbling FBI agent and I’m the genius con artist. We’re both, hopefully, the smartest guys in the room. . . . So ultimately, they form a good team that way. And that’s something we really try to flesh out in every episode.”

The Texas native also has had a recurring role on “Chuck” as Bryce Larkin, Chuck’s one-time college friend and the agent responsible for getting Chuck involved with the CIA. Will Bryce return when the show comes back for a third season?

“I would love to make a reappearance on ‘Chuck.’ I have no idea how that is going to work out, scheduling-wise. It’s something I’ve been in a dialogue about with the creators. But if everything were to align properly, I would. Nothing would make me happier.”