An Interview with Matt Bomer (ex-Jay, Traveler)
From Brad Pitt to Lindsay Lohan, many of the most famous actors of our time began their careers on soap operas. After starring in Guiding Light and Tru Calling, Matt Bomer has already made a name for himself in the television world and quickly built an impressive fan base. This accomplished young actor scored a role on the super-charged drama Traveler on ABC and I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with one of the nicest actors in the biz about his time on the soaps, his role on Traveler and his plans for the future.
Q: Before you became an actor, you received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon, what career path had you planned on taking?
Matt: “Well, that’s a Bachelor in Fine Arts and Theater and Acting, so after high school I had to audition to get into that program. I had auditioned for a few acting schools, but I had a backup plan – I was going to do broadcast journalism in case that didn’t work out.”
Q: You appeared on soaps early in your career, do you feel this was a good training ground?
Matt: “Soaps were not something I had planned on doing. I got a Broadway show and we were waiting for a house to open up. So, for my day job I was a bell hop and after 9/11, I lost my day job. Nobody was coming to New York to stay in hotels any more. This great casting director from Guiding Light told me if anything came up on the show, he’d let me know. And he did, a job opened up and I really needed it. It was such a fantastic experience and it really was a great training ground for prime-time especially.”
Q: What was the most important skill you took away from the soaps?
Matt: “Making choices quickly. What a lot of people don’t realize is that on soaps, you only get one take to do it right.”
Q: How did the role of Jay on Traveler come to you?
Matt: “I had done a screen test for another Warner Bros. pilot on the WB. The WB became the CW and that pilot got shelved, but fortunately the producers for Traveler had seen that screen test and brought me in to test.”
Q: How did you prepare for this role?
Matt: “There was a physical preparation and a text preparation, which involved watching a lot of movies like Three Days of the Condor, The Fugitive, those kind of things. I really tried to understand the minds of the characters going into it, before everything goes wrong. Physically, they brought us to New York and had us working with professional Rollerbladers and personal trainers to make sure we weren’t going to pass out. The first time I was on Rollerblades was a nightmare because I cannot Rollerblade to save my life.”
Q: Do you find any similarities between Jay and yourself?
Matt: “Yeah, I think the similarities are that they’re both optimistic and we both want to believe the best in everybody. In the beginning of the show, Jay really believes in the establishment to effect change – the establishment being the government. At the end of the day, I think I’m a pretty optimistic person.”
Q: What can you “spoil” for us about future episodes?
Matt: “All the questions that are raised in the pilot will be answered and some of them in a couple episodes.”
Q: If you were in Jay’s position, what would you do?
Matt: “If I were in Jay’s position and had Jay’s history and I were with Tyler, I think I would turn myself in. That’s easy to say in the moment, but when you’re put in that stressful of a situation, I can certainly understand their decision to run.”
Q: Did you and the other guys hang out together after filming?
Matt: “Oh yeah. We shot the pilot in New York and the series in Vancouver, where we had shot Tru Calling, so I had some friends up there. Logan and I worked such crazy hours; we didn’t have much free time. When we did, we’d catch the football game together on Sunday – that was our big weekend plan. Bill (Sadler) was hilarious, we would be riding together to the set and he would change the lyrics to songs and I would almost be literally peeing in my pants. He would imitate other singing voices too. Logan and I just watched the pilot together at his place.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Matt: “I see myself working, making a living and doing projects that I’m passionate about, regardless of the medium.”
Q: Anything to say to the fans?
Matt: “Thank you for watching, thank you for your support and I promise if they stick with the show, they will be satisfied.”