Interview: Matt Bomer on “Glee”, “8″, Channing Tatum and Darren Criss

Matt Bomer on the "White Collar" setWhether you’re a Glee fan or not, this week’s “Big Brother” episode was a don’t-miss, primarily because of a guest starring role for the handsome and much in demand actor Matt Bomer. He played Cooper, the arrogant mini-celebrity brother of Blaine (Darren Criss). Not only did the Brothers Anderson look great side by side, but the show wisely let Criss and Bomer show off their nicely matched vocal talents in a Duran Duran mash-up of “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Rio” as well as a heartfelt rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

After shooting his Glee episode and appearing as Matthew Morrison’s lover in the LA reading of Dustin Lance Black’s 8 play, Bomer went back to New York City to begin filming new episodes of his USA series White Collar. But the actor still managed to find a few minutes after shooting White Collar scenes to check in with us after his Glee episode aired. Of course, he also talked up Magic Mike and his co-star Channing Tatum, his part in 8 and what fans can expect with the upcoming new season of White Collar.

AfterElton: I was watching your Glee episode, and I thought ‘Is there anything Matt Bomer can’t do?’ So I need you tell me one thing you cannot do.
Matt Bomer:
[laughs] You know, Jim, without the smoke and mirrors of Hollywood there are many, many things that I cannot do. I will tell you that on set I do tend to trip a lot. In real life, you don’t get to call ‘cut!’

AE: How are you feeling the day after the Glee episode aired and the buzz has been out there?
I thought the whole episode was a lot of fun, and I was really proud to be a part of it.

AE: Did you have a hand at all in who Cooper Anderson was or was that pretty much on the page already?
It was pretty much on the page when I got to set, and it was just such fun material that Ian [Brennan], Michael [Hitchcock] and Ryan [Murphy] came up with. It was fun to get to play in their sandbox for a little while.

Bomer and Darren Criss (right) play brothers on Glee

AE: Neal Caffrey [Bomer’s White Collar character] and Cooper are very, very different. How did it feel to step into Cooper’s shoes?
I think that’s why you become an actor is to get to hopefully play a variety of different roles, and it was fun to live in someone else’s skin besides Neal for a little while. And, you know, it was fun to be a part of a different environment. I think everybody who works on a different show should have to guest on another show. You get an appreciation for home base. I had a blast at Glee but it also made me appreciate White Collar more, because when you get to go off to do some other parts it makes it more fun to come back home.

AE: I know Glee shoots very fast especially with all the material they work with, but how was it to jump into that and be a part of a different kind of race?
For the most part, the script we got way ahead of time, but it was the recording and definitely the choreography we had a little less lead time. I think we got the choreography the night before we filmed it, so I definitely went to bed sweating that night.

AE: Did you know Darren before any of this with Glee came about?
We hadn’t met, so we had dinner before we started working together, and we really hit it off. He’s really a creative soul and really amenable to doing the homework and getting to know me. And I think that really helped us out when we got to set and were brothers. It’s difficult to play a complicated history like that if you don’t have some knowledge of the other person.

He’s just great. He’s a fantastic artist and I’m glad I got to work with him. We also had really masterful direction from Eric Stoltz. I really count myself blessed to get to work with him. He’s a fantastic director. He’s a real rarity in that he’s incredibly technically proficient but also wonderful at being actor-friendly. He helped to navigate us for some waters that might have been trickier in other hands.

AE: I’m guessing if Glee wanted you back and it worked out schedule-wise that you’d be open to it?
Yeah, that would be great! That would be a blast. I had a great time with everyone there. I’m just completely blown away by all the young actors and artists on the show. They were so professional and it’s truly amazing what they put together on a weekly basis at such a high quality. I’m really flattered that I got to be a very tiny part of that show. Anytime they want me, I’d be there.

AE: The Transformers audition video that came out after the episode was hilarious!
Thanks, that was just something that we came up with on the spot and we thought it would be fun to be able to see the audition for Transformers 4. Cooper wouldn’t be auditioning for a very big role – maybe 2 or 3 lines – so we had a lot of fun with it.

AE: Watching the 8 reading here in LA, I was really struck by all the great talent on the stage, but how was the experience for you?
I had done it in New York. We did it one night on Broadway and there were a lot of amazing artists on stage that night too, like Morgan Freeman and John Lithgow, so that helped soften the blow, but the LA production was just a nebula of both creative talent and people I’ve admired and respected as artists for years. I think something that really helped me sort of take it in stride is that it was a really fast process. We did one rehearsal and then we did it, so when you just are thrown into it like that there’s not lot of time to appreciate the surreality of it. But I think for the next couple of days after the reading was finished I was definitely still reeling from being surrounded by so many talented people. I’m one of those weird people where I get more star struck by directors and directors of photography and things like that than I do with actors. Maybe because I understand the actor’s process a little more.

(L-R) Bomer, Matthew Morrison, George Clooney attend the one-night reading of “8″

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