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Q&A Interview with WHITE COLLAR Stars Matt Bomer & Tim DeKay About Series Finale

Mike Vicic - December 16, 2014





Yesterday, TV Tango participated in a conference call with WHITE COLLAR stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, who teased the series finale, explored the Neal/Peter bromance, revealed what mementos they took from the set, and thanked fans for their constant support. We transcribed and edited the call, sometimes moving questions and answers to improve readability.






On Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT, USA Network will premiere "Au Revoir," the series finale of WHITE COLLAR. Peter must involve himself in a dangerous con against the Pink Panthers in order to help Neal carry out a risky heist, putting El at unease with their new baby on the way. Meanwhile, Neal designs a new plan that will serve the interest of the Pink Panthers -- and himself. Guest stars for the final episode include Gavin Lee, Ross McCalll and Lucas Salvagno.

Credit: Eugene Gologursky/USA Network

Question: What can you tell us about the series finale?

Tim DeKay: You know what? Why don't I just tell you how it ends. That way we all know. [laughing]

Do not walk away until the final seconds of the episode. We've got some great twists and turns. Some wonderful moments between everybody, and I think it hits on all the tones that has made WHITE COLLAR what it is. There is a great familial sense to this episode. Certainly, the caper -- or the heist I should say in this instance -- is wonderful. Many questions that people have had throughout the seasons of WHITE COLLAR will be answered.

Question: What did you think about the series finale? Were you satisfied with the way it ended?

Tim DeKay: I'm very satisfied with the ending of the series. One can never be satisfied with the ending of a project they love, but creatively, since we had to end it, I feel that we gave it great, exciting twists and an ending that will surprise, I believe, everyone.

Matt Bomer: That's a complicated question because you're wrapping so many things in such a short period of time. Do you want me to give you a percentage value? [laughing] That's a hard question to answer. I was really satisfied in some ways, and in some ways I would've been interested to explore other avenues as well. I think there were still directions to go, but I think the way they wrapped it up was really well done in the sense that they didn't try to tie everything up into a nice bow and really left some things open-ended and left a lot of things up to the viewer's imagination, which I alway think is more potent that anything you could put down on a piece of paper.

Question: What do you think your characters would do after the series ended?

Tim DeKay: I certainly don't want to give you any spoilers, but I will say this: I know exactly what my character would do right as soon as the episode goes to black. I know exactly what happens the next day for Peter Burke.

Matt Bomer: I can't really answer that one either, because it will give it away I think, what happened to me. I think writers did an incredible job creating somewhat of a cliffhanger but also giving the audience a little bit to chew on.

Question: Did you take anything from the set as a memento?

Tim DeKay: There two badges that Peter Burke had; I took home one. I took home a number of suits, because these suits were built for me by different great tailors. And then there was a painting that was in the hallway -- I don't think anybody's ever seen it; I don't think it ever aired -- in the vestibule before you entered Neal's apartment. If Neal and Mozzie had a scene and I entered halfway through the scene or if I was just waiting in that vestibule for my cue to enter, I would always look at this one painting. It's a great painting of this couple in a horse-drawn sleigh in the snow. Within the first few episodes of the first season, I thought, "I'm going to take this home when this show ends, because I like it," so I did.

Matt Bomer: I took a painting of a heron from Neal's apartment. What else did I take? I took the bust of Socrates and gave it to Jeff Eastin as a wrap gift.

Tim DeKay: Did you take the preacher skating?


Matt Bomer: No, Willie [Garson] wanted that, so I gave it to him. There was this beautiful picture of this preacher ice skating -- it was kind of turn-of-the-century -- in a top hat, just in his own solitude reverie, ice skating around a pond by himself. I always really liked that picture. What else did I take?

Tim DeKay: But because Willie is so religious, you gave it to Willie?

Matt Bomer: Yeah [laughing]. There's a great antique map of Manhattan that Neal had on his wall, and I took that as well.

Question: Did you take any suits home?

Matt Bomer: They didn't give me any suits. I think they auctioned them all off to make a dollar, and left me in the cold, but over the years I definitely raided a few out of Neal's wardrobe.

Credit: Robert Ascroft/USA Network

Question: Will there ever be a WHITE COLLAR movie or prequel?

Tim DeKay: I don't know. That's a good question. I think in past I would've said "No, I don't see that being a possibility," but VERONICA MARS kind of broke the mold with that, so I'm not going to say that would be impossible. I would certainly entertain that possibility, but right now there aren't any plans to have a movie. Gosh, that would be fun.

Matt Bomer: That's way above my pay grade. [laughing] If they came to us with the proposition, then I would definitely want to do it, just to get the chance to work with Tim and Willie and Marsha and Sharif and Tiffani again, but I have no idea. [laughing]

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

Question: How would you describe the last day and last few scenes on set?

Tim DeKay: It was similar to Senior Week in high school. It was Senior Week, yet you still had a whole bunch of finals; you still had to do well in the classroom -- and those were the scenes, and you wanted to do well. What was interesting was that every time somebody would finish -- let's say Marsha Thomason Sykes, for example. She finished a couple days before Matt and I did. In the past, the First AD always made an announcemnt, "Ladies and gentlemen, that's an episode wrap on this person," and then the whole crew applauds -- for every episode. It's a nice tradition that television has. In this instance, theh First AD would say, "Ladies and gentlemen, that's is a series wrap on Marsha Thomason, on Sharif Atkins" on whomever. Then, of course, the tears would start to flow, and each actor was allowed -- as long as they wanted to -- to somewhat publically thank the cast and crew, and just share what the series meant to them. That was lovely. They saved for the last shot of the series a scene between Matt and me. We both got to speak and everybody's crying, and then they brought out a cake. It was lovely, because the cast and crew became such a family. It was a joy to go to work.

Matt Bomer: It was really emotional. I'm so glad that most of us, if not all of us, were able to process a lot of that in the moment, as opposed to finding yourself driving down a street in L.A. five months later and, you know, bursting into tears. It was great. I'm so grateful. It's so easy to focus on how much we'll miss everybody -- and I will -- but I just feel like we're so lucky we got to do this for six seasons. And get to enjoy each other's company for that time, and I think a lot of business relationships and friendships were created that will last a lifetime. I think there's a lot more to be grateful for than there is to be sad about.

Question: What did you do special on set the last day of shooting?

Tim DeKay: They brought out this gorgeous cake with black and white and blue icing. It was nice because they scheduled it so that the two of us had a final scene together. It wasn't the last scene of the episode, certainly as you will see, but actually it was a scene that already aired. Wasn't it Matt?

Matt Bomer: I don't know, was it?

Tim DeKay: Yeah, I think it was, because it aired Thursday. It was the scene where we're out on the porch drinking a beer, and you say, "You've got to join the Panthers."

Matt Bomer: Maybe it was an additional scene.

Tim DeKay: It was. It actually wasn't in the last episode; it was an additional scene that needed to be shot later on that Jeff King shot.

Matt Bomer: We also were able to give wrap speeches and express our gratitude to our amazing crew and cast members and just have some closure there. We were able to get our thoughts and thanks all out there.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

Question: What types of roles are on your bucket list? What do you want to do next?

Tim DeKay: I've got a Christmas movie that I'm trying to get made, and I will be directing in it. I've also been talking to Fox Studios because they have some projects they would like me to pursue as well with them for television as an actor, which are very interesting. I have those, and also there's a Western that I will be shooting this spring where I play a dark character. I look forward to playing somebody dark -- he's certainly not an FBI Agent, far from it. As an actor you always look for something where the character is great or the story is great, and in some of these projets I've got coming up, they're both. While I will miss playing Peter greatly, I look forward to a different kind of role.

Matt Bomer: Oh, goodness, there's so many thing I want to do. I'd like to really make the Montgomery Clift biopic happen. I'd like to get a chance to wear two different hats in the business, and I also think it'd be really great to do an adaptation of a great novel -- those are pretty countless. Any and all of the above.

Credit: Eugene Gologursky/USA Network

Question: Why do you think Neal and Peter were such a successful partnership?

Matt Bomer: Tim DeKay. Because of Tim DeKay. His spirit, his kindness and his grace.

Tim DeKay: I think, honestly, the key to Neal and Peter -- it started with the writing. Jeff Estin wrote these great guys. I'll say it. Matt and I work extremely well together, and we respect each other and we listen to each other. I think the fun that we had working together comes across as Neal and Peter having a good time working together as well. It's also inherent in the writing. It's very interesting to watch these two guys who you would not think would get along -- and they do. An unlikely partnership, as it's been said before.

Matt Bomer: I agree. I echo everything Tim said; it really did start with the writing. I knew from the first time Tim and I read together, we had somewhat of an understanding of the yin and yang of these two people -- not only what made them different, but what made them want to be the same in certain ways. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to have Jeff, who was going to listen to us -- and we were able to listen to him and bounce ideas off of each other and get to riff on those things. I think we just had a blast doing it together.

Question: What's your favorite thing about Neal and Peter's relationship?

Matt Bomer: My favorite thing was that as different as they were, there was a mutual respect between them, and there was always something that Peter had that Neal wanted. As different as they were, they kind of stretched each other's boundaries and also respected different aspects of the other person's life.

Tim DeKay: I don't think if I ever said this, but it just hit me now listening to Matt. I certainly don't mean this in a romantic sense, but the two of them were very attracted to each other's lives. They both found each other extremely interesting. I don't think I've every used that word, but it's true. I wouldn't say infatuated, but I would say very interested and attracted to what they were doing in their life.

Question: Matt, what was your favorite bromance moment with Peter?

Matt Bomer: The one moment that really sticks out to me is the finale of the first season when Neal's about to leave and go off with Kate in the airplane, and he's basically saying goodbye to Peter. At that moment, he realized that for the first time in his life he had a friendship with someone who's actually remotely stable -- someone who he knew he could learn a lot about being a good human being from, which is an experience I don't think he got from a lot of people in the world. That moment was probably my favorite bromance moment to play.

Question: Matt, do you really know how to pick locks?

Matt Bomer: Yeah. I was fortunate to have an amazing consultant over the years named Simon, who was a former con artist. He was really instrumental in teaching me sleight of hand, whether it was picking a pocket or card tricks or picking a lock. We actually did have a lock pick set with me on set, and he did at one point teach me how to pick a lock. Sometimes I was successful, and most of the time I wasn't. At least one point in the show I legitimately picked a lock on screen.

Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

Question: What are you going to miss about the show?

Matt Bomer: That's a really dense question to consolidate into a sound bite. Personally, I will miss the camaraderie that we all had on set. Professionally, I'll miss getting to play such a rich character, and certainly I'll miss getting to wear all those great suits.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

Question: How did you provide input for the series finale?

Tim DeKay: I don't know. We didn't really brainstorm. It's not as if the two of us ever sat down and said, "Hey, how are we going to end this?" You don't think that. It was just one of these things that came about. We were on set, I think. I don't remember, to be honest, how it came about specifically, but there were some ideas thrown around and Jeff [Eastin] seemed to like this one idea, which reflects something that Matt had said earlier. It needs to be noted again how open Jeff Eastin was throughout the process to our ideas and how well he listened, whether they listened to our rhythms through Peter and Neal or listened to Tim and Matt, but Jeff was always open to that. And not precious with his words, but open to the ideas and the rhythms that we would suggest for the show. I think that was a key to the show's success in the beginning.

Matt Bomer: I echo those sentiments. We heard a lot of ideas being bantied about and we threw in our two cents, and it ended up becoming a soup that everybody had thrown a few ingredients into. I don't think Tim or I could take any kind of professional responsibility for it.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

Question: What have you learned from each other over the years?

Matt Bomer: I learned from Tim the kind of person I should be on set. I learned how to be a morning person, because I never was -- and Tim is. I learned a tremendous amount about acting from him. I mean, every day I learned something different from him as an actor, but also I think I learned just as much about how to handle yourself on set on a day-to-day basis.

Tim DeKay: I learned from Matt, I really did. His work ethic is unmatched; I've yet to see anyone who works harder than Matt, so that he looks really easy when it's aired. He's never satisfied, which is something none of us are every quite satisfied. There's always one more take we want, one more moment we'd like to work on again. I'm glad neither one of us never allowed or accepted it to be satisfactory -- never allowed us to be satisfied. The two of us never were. Also, I learned another kind of comedy from Matt. I group all these people I know who have a certain kind of comedy, and Matt's so specific and just brilliant and hilarious.

I could go on and on.

Honestly, I think we all learn from each other, but the key is to continue to learn and always be open to the next person who comes your way and shares a scene with you.

Question: If you were the writers, were there any adventures you would've liked to have taken your characters on?

Matt Bomer: There are always a lot of directions that your character could go -- or would have, should have, could have -- but my favorite scenes the writers wrote were the walk-and-talks that Tim and I would have. There's so much skill involved in a scene like that, and the rhythm and being in New Yrok City and filming on an active street. That's something that I would be intimidated as a writer to try to even attempt, and our entire staff did an incredible job of capturing that camaraderie and that dynamic. Those were always my favorite. You could always think of things that could've happened or would've happened, but I was always really excited on those days to do those scenes, because I knew something fun was going to happen and Tim was going to surprise me with something -- and that we would both have a smile on our face at the end of the scene.

Tim DeKay: While they were the most challenging, they were the most satisfying -- once you finished them -- because there are a lot of different factors, one of which was space. The writers always wrote much more than what was allowed for the dolly track, which holds the camera on a block, so it would be a dance of figuring out when could we stop, who then starts us walking again. And then we turn a corner, would it be great to turn the corner or not? All of these things, and then the decisions having to be made in what seemed like seconds, because we were always up against the clock.

Matt Bomer: It kept you on your toes.

Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

Question: Do you have a favorite episode?

Tim DeKay: I'd have to say the pilot, but that could almost seem separate. There were some moments, funny enough, that I did not think would be my favorite, but there are some moments during the Nazi sub episode that I enjoyed. The Burke Seven? That was fun. I don't know; I could go on. They were all my favorite; they're like children to me. [laughing]

Matt Bomer: It's like asking me which is my favorite finger. It would be tough to pick. If I had to encapsulate one experience, it would probably be the pilot, because you have a lot more time and you're establishing all these relationships -- everything is so fresh and new. That was really a magical time. This was just one of those weird jobs where there wasn't a single day that went by that I wasn't enjoying myself -- if not the entire day, then most of it. It's impossible to really boil it down to just one episode or one moment.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

Question: Is there anything you'd like to say to WHITE COLLAR fans?

Matt Bomer: We have the most incredible fans; we really do. We probably had like 42 different time slots over the course of six seasons, and this incredible group of people stood by us and followed us wherever the network put us on. Their outpourings and expressions of support over the years have bolstered me during difficult times when the workload was really intense. This entire season is for them. I just hope they were able to have some kind of closure with the series and to enjoy these final six episodes -- and to get to spend another six hours with these characters. I just hope they're happy with the way things turned out.

Tim DeKay: I share those sentiments as well. What a great group. It's just such a wonderful feeling I get from many of the fans who tweeted or Instagrammed or been on the set and shouted out something across the street. They've been incredible, and it certainly has been a big part of this wonderful journey that we've been on for the past six seasons.