“White Collar” Stars Matt Bomer and Willie Garson Talk Heinous Crimes: Q&A

Source: The Sling Blog
Date: October 23, 2009

“White Collar” premieres tonight on USA, and assuming you’ve seen the trailers everywhere (and above), I’d like to confirm something: Matt Bomer, the guy who plays the sly criminal-cum-FBI informant, has the most amazing glacier-blue eyes I’ve ever had the pleasure of gazing into. They’re so bright they look Photoshopped on all the billboards, but I can assure you that they are not. I interviewed him in person the other night, and upon making eye contact, I began blushing but couldn’t look away. “Is he flirting with me?” I wondered (um, okay, hoped) — only to realize that no, he was just looking at me while I asked him questions. I guess when a person has eyes like nuclear-powered laser-beam sapphires, his normal gaze is a bit more intense than I’m used to.

I also got the chance to catch up with Bomer’s co-star, Willie Garson, who is best known for playing Carrie Bradshaw’s gay best friend, Stanford, on “Sex and the City.” He’s currently shooting both “White Collar” and the “Sex and the City 2” movie at the same time. See both interviews, below.

WILLIE GARSON

Tell me about your character on “White Collar.”

My character is a dark operative. He works behind the scenes. He’s been partners with Matt Bomer’s character forever. We have done every crime that you can imagine. And so now we’re just working for the good guys.

What’s the most heinous crime that your character has ever done?

I would have to ask our writer about that. Apparently we’ve done everything that can possibly be done, from stealing an old lady’s pocketbook to stealing the Hope Diamond. We’ve done everything. We’re professional white-collar thieves. We can figure out any scam.

What’s the relationship like between your character and Matt’s character?

My character is kind of a social misfit, whereas Matt’s character Neal is so charming. I’m kind of like the guy behind him who can find all the information, but I’m not good with people. In that role, it reminds me a little of when I played Henry on “NYPD Blue.” A little bit. But Henry was nowhere near as intelligent as Mozzie.

How did Mozzie and Neal meet?

No idea. Not yet. I imagine we’ll find out.

Have you had any crazy experiences shooting the show in New York City?

I’ve been through everything shooting in New York City. So, you know, we’re learning that because of former jobs that I’ve had, we can’t just run and gun on the street. We have to block off whole the street. It ends up taking us a lot longer if we don’t, because if people pass us and we’re shooting a scene, we get a lot of this [he mimes rubbernecking] because I’m me. So that’s been really interesting. We were shooting in the forties, and we were on the street, and during the take a guy came up to me and said, “Aren’t you that guy from ‘Sex and the City’?” And I’m totally in character watching Matt walk away, and I said, “Not right now I’m not!” But that’s what’s fun about shooting in New York. There’s so much energy.

Are you filming “Sex and the City” right now as well?

Yeah, I’ve been doing double duty filming the show and the movie. So I’m a little bit spent. I’ll come up for air in January and figure out what I’m going to do while we’re waiting to see if this goes in the direction we hope that it does.

MATT BOMER

Tell me about your character.

Neal is a smooth, well-put-together, slick, hyper-intelligent con artist on the surface, and he’s also got a mischievous streak a mile wide. But underneath that, he’s like a big kid. He’s always testing his boundaries, and he’s really a romantic at heart. He’s looking for the love of his life.

So he’s not the womanizer we think he is?

There’s nothing wrong with flirting! Whatever it takes to get the job done. But at the end of the day, it boils down to one girl.

I heard that there’s some sexual tension between your character and a certain FBI agent played by Natalie Morales.

Well, Neal’s at work, he’s got the space, and she’s the hot female at the office, so of course he’s going to play up that angle. It makes his job more fun. Now, the crux of his character – his central motivation – is to find this love, Kate. That’s why he affiliates himself with the FBI. He and Kate were in on a lot of cons together. He’s also struggling with whether he can trust her, and so on.

I was talking to Willie Garson, and he was saying that your characters are old partners in crime.

Yeah, he’s the voice in my ear. He’s the guy I trust on the side, and how I get information from the streets. If I need to go around the FBI, then I talk to him. He’s also the guy who gives me the confidence I need at the end of the day.

He also said that you guys have committed every white-collar crime there is.

Well, I was convicted for over a dozen different schemes and frauds, but that doesn’t mean that I did any of them. I prefer to think of them as “social engineering.”

How come Willie’s character didn’t get caught?

Well, you’ll have to ask him that.

Did your character help him out, maybe?

Oh yeah. We help each other out.

How come you were the one who wound up in jail?

Well, when you see the pilot, you’ll actually see that I let myself get caught. I go to meet Kate and she’s not there. She’s the whole reason I busted out of prison.

Have you ever personally committed a heinous crime?

Well, it wasn’t exactly a crime, but it was pretty heinous: I snuck my brother’s truck out, and I’d just turned 16, and I drove it around with my friends and I got a flat tire.

How did you get home?

I drove on the rim. And my dad was waiting for me at the front door. And he was like, “Give me your license.” It was like the end of the world. I had just turned 16. I was grounded for like, three months. Neill, my older brother — if you’re reading this, Neill, I’m sorry.

Wait, your brother’s name is Neill? What does he think of you playing a character with his name?

Yeah, and he looks a lot like me, too. We never really talked about it, though. He was just like, “Oh, cool.” He’s a very chill Texan guy, so he was just like, “Cool, man.” I totally think it’s awesome, though. I’ve been trying to copy him my whole life.

The younger brother always is.

Oh yeah. If he was Batman, I was Robin. That’s just how it works, and he’s like, “Whatever.”