Date: June 20, 2007
Matthew Bomer, son of a former Dallas Cowboy, is one of the many young actors to arrive in Hollywood with an intense theater background. Moving from New York theater to the world of soap operas to big budget Hollywood films and now prime time television, Bomer has swiftly climbed the ranks in the world of acting. His latest project sees Matthew playing the lead role, Jay, on ABC’s Traveler. Matthew took some time recently to discuss the show, Superman, and the possibility of a Traveler grass roots campaign.
Growing up, was acting something you always wanted to do? Or did it just come to you later in life?
I think I kind of got into it in middle school. It was something I kind of discovered on my own and started doing. I played sports and stuff but I would also do these forensics competitions that they had and I started kind of doing well on those and then in high school towards my last couple years in high school, I started working at the regional theater, at the Alley Theater in Houston, and so after that I went to conservatory and that was that.
After college you made the move to New York to pursue acting. When did you make that conscious decision to just go for it?
I think I made the conscious decision to go for it my senior year in high school. The acting program I went to was like really, really comprehensive. It was about sixty hours a week of really, really hard work. So you found out really, really quick, if acting was something you really wanted to do for the rest of your life or not.
Your first high profile jobs were in the soap opera world. Was that something you looked to get into? What was that whole experience like?
Not at all. I actually sworn that I’d never do a soap opera. Then after 9/11, I lost my day job because I was working at a hotel. Nobody was coming to New York, so they kind of had to cut their losses, then this casting director from a soap opera said “Hey, if you ever wanna be on a soap opera, come on by. I got a part for you.” And I lost my job and I called him and that was that. I’m really glad that I did it.
I guess that the fear is that some people never get out of the soap opera world…was that kind of why you were anti-soap opera to begin with?
No, it’s just…you know, watching them it just didn’t seem like something that I really was that interested in, but actually getting to work on one, you realize it’s pretty a good place to hone your craft and a great place to make a lot of mistakes kind of early on and it’s not gonna matter. So, I think, you know, never leaving them, that’s sort of a conscious decision, I think I did one for a little over a year and that was all the time I needed and if you want to stay on they say OK but if not, they let you go, that’s how it works.
I’ve read some stories about you being attached to Superman Returns and how you were Brett Ratner’s first choice to play Superman. Is that true?
Well yeah. Just to clarify, it wasn’t Superman Returns at the time. It was a completely different movie that JJ Abrams had written. So, it was a lot more comedic, it was more sort of the coming of age and him sort of realizing through the course of the movie how to use his powers for good and stuff that wasn’t a sequel or a part two of the original Superman franchise.
Can you tell us how you ended up with the role of Jay on Traveler?
Yeah, I actually screen tested for another Warner Brothers pilot. I got that part and when Warner Brothers, WB, became The CW, I…they lost that show. It sort of got lost in the shuffle, they dropped it from the programming list and the producers of Traveler happened to be in the screen test that I’d done for that show and they liked it so they brought me in for that. I tested for that show.
You know, your co-star Logan Marshall-Green, I believe is another guy who works in New York. Did you know him before? You guys seem to have a pretty easy chemistry, pretty believable friendship on the show.
Oh, thanks. Logan is a fantastic actor. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time and we have done some work together in New York. We just know each other through the theaters and, so yeah, we knew each other before but we got to become better friends obviously as the shoot went on.
Traveler was at first supposed to be a midseason show with a 13 episode order then that got cut down to eight, moved to the summer. How frustrating is that, expecially with you just staying on the sidelines, helpless?
You know, I think everybody really ran the gamut of emotions. I mean, it started when we found out—I love Vancouver, British Columbia but you know, to shoot a show up there for six months, you know, like seventy hours a week, it’s a commitment. As an actor you got to just kind of realize what you are and what you aren’t in control of. When it comes to TV, you’re in control of showing up to work on time, doing the best work that you can, and you got to trust that the people, the higher ups or whatever, know what they’re doing. And know when the best time to put the show on. You kinda just let go and whatever’s gonna happen will happen and you can’t really predict the zeitgeist or what kind of show’s gonna hit when.
How does it feel now finally getting to watch the episodes? The reception has been mostly positive.
Yeah. You know, I was just so happy that it was gonna air. Cause for a while there I was like “Shit…” Can I curse on this thing?
I didn’t know if it was going to air and then, you know, you don’t want to rehearse a play for six months then never do it in front of an audience. So I was just glad that people finally get a chance to see it. I don’t know if it was necessarily the best time or…we’ll never know, there’s no point in worrying about that or sweating it cause what’s done is done. But I’m just glad people get to see it and I hope that when people get to watch it, they enjoy it, you know.
Lately, in the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of grass roots campaigns for saving shows. Jericho kinda got saved that way and Veronica Mars, they almost saved it. And now there’s been talk for the last couple of days about trying the same thing for Traveler. Have you heard anything about that? Is there a glimmer of hope for more episodes?
Well, we have a fantastic creator of the show named David DiGilio, who’s just one of the most intelligent, down to earth great guys and I’m sure he’ll come up with something cause he’s worked harder than any of us. Let me tell you something: his commitment and dedication to the project…if you want he’s gonna show up somewhere and whatever I need to do I’ll do it man.
So you’re up for more if they can get it?
Yeah, man. I’m all about it. People wanna do the grassroots campaign, then bring it on.
Outside of Traveler, do you have anything coming up that you’d like to talk about?
I’m actually going to go back to do a play. I’m going to play Earnest Hemmingway in a play in Williamstown.
Williamstown Theater in Williamstown, Massachusetts is kind of a place where a lot of film and TV actors go to do theater in the summer starting back with Paul Newman and Blythe Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow, I think Alison Janney’s gonna be up there when I’m there . It’s gonna be fun.
Where do you see your career going in the next few years? Do you want to go into film? Do you want to do TV? Stick to doing a lot of plays?
I’m not really biased towards any medium, you know. What’s important to me…obviously, you have to do some job to help you pay the bills. What’s important to me is that they continue to work on projects that kind of challenge artists and hopefully affect people in a positive way.