White Collar Stars Matt Bomer & Tim DeKay Discuss Season Three

Source: UGO Entertainment
Date: June 14, 2011

White Collar returned to USA with a riveting season three premiere that takes a turn towards the darker side of Neal Caffrey, and UGO had the chance to chat with Matt and Tim to see what’s in store.

5 – The Importance of Relationships

Tim, What is Peter’s next step? He’s always been there for Neal, and now they’re at odds with one another.

Tim DeKay: Yes, they are at odds. In a way I would say that Peter’s walking that edge as well because he knows that if he – if his suspicions are correct about Neal and the Ark in a way that’s – what’s the expression I’m looking for, you don’t always get what you hope for because if you do you’d be very upset by that. And I think Peter would be upset by it as well.

I think deep down inside Peter would like it if he’s wrong, but yet there is something in him that has to make sure that he is wrong. He hopes that he’s wrong with this investigation. It’s one investigation that he’s digging into that he hopes that he’s wrong. And then he has to decide what he’s going to do with that information if he is correct.

Do you look forward to maybe having a lot more screen time with Elizabeth?

Tim DeKay: Yes, it’s always great when Elizabeth is somehow part of the case. I think it’s also great if when Peter and Elizabeth have an issue at home where Neal can help them out and maybe they don’t – it doesn’t have anything to do with the case as well like in the Pilot when Neal was helping Peter with their anniversary. I always welcome anything that has to do with doing scenes with Tiffani. It’s also great because I get to go undercover a bit more this season, which is always fun.

Matt Bomer: If I could add to that, you know, a lot of this season for Neal is really about nature versus nurture and is he going to do – is he stuck being the person he thinks he was born to be or can his relationship with Peter sort of change his path and his life.

And what I thought was really smart about the writers – something smart that I thought the writers did this season was that they really reminded the audience that he’s a criminal, you know, because I think, you know, his actions in the past couple seasons have really been motivated by Kate. But now this is it, this is a really strong reminder to the audience of who he is.

Do we get to see anything maybe this season where we start to see relationships erode as a result of the finale?

Matt Bomer: That’s – I don’t know if erode – I think erode might be too strong but certainly there is a reexamining of certainly the relationship that Peter and Neal have because I think they both want to get back to what it was. And one could argue that because of the ending of the second season that they are right back to where they were – way at the beginning.

Tim DeKay: Yes.

Matt Bomer: However when you’ve invested in – when you vested two years of your life with someone and then something like that happens I think it’s different for Peter because not only is it a professional slap in the face but it’s a very personal slap in the face too.

Tim DeKay: A lot of the shows that I like to watch, the relationship – I mean with the exception of some of your standard comedies, relationships are constantly changing and progressing and, you know, I think an episode of our show all kinds of relationships take twists and turns and that’s something that’s definitely going on a lot this season.

And I don’t think any of Neal’s relationships will be the same at the end of this season as they were the beginning of this season. So I don’t know. I know that’s kind of a vague answer to your question but erode is not the word I would choose but they certainly change, all of them; Peter with Mozzie, with Alex, with Sara.

4 – Neal’s Romantic Future

So the Kate thing has been solved, and Neal’s kind of looking for his purpose. What do you think that will be for him?

Matt Bomer: That’s – you hit the nail on the head, that’s a big part of what this season’s about is Neal sort of trying to straddle both worlds of collaborating with the FBI and also a side project with Mozzie and he’s – his struggle this season is figuring out which step he’s going to take.

Does that sound vague enough for you?

What is the motivation for your character now?

Matt Bomer: Yes, I think that’s a really strong difference this season is that Neal has a couple of different options. You know, he has the opportunity to walk the straight and narrow or he has an opportunity to go vastly a different way. And a lot of this season is really about him making that decision and sort of covering his tracks with both sides.

The season finale puts Neal in an interesting place romantically because he has a choice between Sara and Alex. How does he go about dealing with the tension between these two?

Matt Bomer: I can say that, you know, what appeals about Sara to Neal is that she’s sort of – she’s kind of a hybrid of, you know, Alex and Kate because she’s still – she lives in a world that’s still high stakes and it’s very similar in a lot of ways to his world as a con artist. But at the same time she’s a lot more grounded than somebody like Alex.

Yes, so I think he finds that really appealing and – but, you know, I think the thing about a con artist is that, you know, the relationships that they – that world lends itself to are very kind of fast and loose, you know. It’s sort of like instant intimacy because you never really know how long it’s going to last. And so I think that’s something that Neal is really struggling with this season.

3 – Choose a Side

Do you still have the anklet?

Matt Bomer: Yes.

Tim DeKay: Does that anklet become kind of a silent partner or a silent character again this season?

Matt Bomer: I would say so. I mean the anklet’s sort of a constant ball and chain for him. It’s sort of – it’s his leash, you know. It’s keeping him – Neal always reminded me of, you know, when you’re a kid and you caught something. You caught something and you tried to put it in a little shoebox and cut holes in the top but you realized it was so innately wild you should just let it go, that’s kind of how I’ve always felt about Neal but the anklet is sort of the leash that’s keeping him from being who he wants to be completely.

Tim, you said that Peter’s going to go undercover a little more this season. And Matt, you said that Neal is still kind of going back and forth. And I’m really curious about what this side project with Mozzie is. So I was just wondering about temptation and how it’s going to come into play this season?

Tim DeKay: It’s interesting. I don’t know how – we haven’t used that word as often as I think. It certainly is relevant and prevalent in the show. I think Peter is tempted in a number of ways. He is – his temptation is split. He’s tempted to catch Neal and he’s also tempted to not have Neal be caught and because of all the goodness that Neal brings to his life personally and professionally.

There is also a temptation that Peter experiences when he goes undercover but I think perhaps part of what makes this show interesting and the relationship of Peter and Neal is that Peter’s – Peter always keeps his temptations in check and recognizes that, yes, it’s a temptation but there’s no need to act out on that temptation whereas I think that might be different for Neal.

Matt Bomer: Yes, Neal is incredibly impulsive. His impulse control is not his forte but I think the fact that given the amount of temptation he faces this season, and he does stifle certain impulses, speaks largely to his relationship with Peter and the gratification he does get from collaborating with the FBI.

2 – New Additions to the Set?

Are there any more sets we’ll be seeing in Season 3?

Tim DeKay: In addition to all the great locations that this show takes us to you are going to see the Burke kitchen. They designed a gorgeous kitchen for us so quite a few scenes will take place in there.

Matt Bomer:And also a beautiful new interrogation room. In the FBI.

Tim DeKay:Yes, with that fancy mirror-window.

Matt Bomer:And light-up table.

Tim DeKay:Yes, it’s a table that lights up.

Matt Bomer:And what else? An extension of Neal’s closet, which is as we come to find is sort of also a room that he can spy from.

Tim DeKay: And not to reveal too much…

Matt Bomer:A two-way mirror in there.

Tim DeKay:Not to reveal too many upcoming stories because we don’t want to spoil those but just to see where some other folks on the show live.

Would you like to get a chance to interrogate Matt or would Matt interrogate Tim?

Matt Bomer: Unfortunately, I think Tim already knows. There’s nothing he could interrogate out of me at this point.

Tim DeKay:Let me just say, I don’t think there’s anything else to ask and for us to know.

1 – Working on USA

How does USA’s character approach differ from other projects that you’ve worked on?

Tim DeKay: I think what’s great about USA is that, yes, they have crime-related shows or law-related shows but they stress relationship much more than other crime-related shows. And therein lies your character work. I’ve said this before, it’s great that you get to go home to see where the con artist lives.

You get to go home to see where the FBI agent/cop for lack of a better term lives as well. And you see their personal lives. And I think that’s one of the things that separates USA’s crime shows from other crime shows.

Matt Bomer: And “Characters Welcome” gives you a lot of license for creativity as an actor. And I’ve noticed even in the more procedural scenes that we have on our shows, the characters always have very distinct point of view about the case, about the characters involved in the case, the people involved in the case. And so even when it’s just covering the story of the week or the case of the week, it’s still very specific to the character. There’s still a strong emphasis on the character.

A couple of summers ago USA actually did a really interesting bit of television commercials where they crossed over a whole bunch of shows. Are there plans in the works to do any more crossovers?

Tim DeKay: We’ve always looked to do crossover with Burn Notice so we have an excuse to go to Miami. Whether or not that comes to fruition we’ll see but I think that is a – when you are on a network like USA it is all of the shows are about characters. And it’s – as an actor, it’s wonderful because you’re celebrating what we love to do the most. So when they do do the commercials or anything like that it’s a joy because it – the essence of that network comes out even more.

Matt Bomer: There’s a real – I mean there’s a real familial feeling whenever there are any events for USA whether it’s, you know, one of their Mob storytelling project events or, you know, whenever we have to get together for the up fronts or whatever it is. There’s a real strong sense of community between all the different casts.

I think it’s because USA only has so many shows that they work on and so you really feel the love from everybody and the support of everybody and everybody roots for everybody else. So it’d be an honor for us to get to work with any of the shows on the network.

Tim DeKay: I couldn’t agree more.