Matt Bomer takes off white collar for ‘Magic’
Bonding, you want bonding?
Take your clothes off in front of a room full of women and you’ll experience bonding, actor Matt Bomer says.
“You want to form an instant ensemble? Throw them in g-strings and make them hang out together,” he says. “It’s instant ‘Band of Brothers.’”
Bomer stars with Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer and Joe Manganiello in “Magic Mike,” a new film about a young male stripper and the veteran who takes him under wing. It opens today.
Loosely based on Tatum’s own experiences (yup, he was a stripper), the film is directed by Steven Soderbergh, the Oscar winner behind “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich.”
“It could have been the most awkward experience of my career — anyone’s career, but Steven and Channing were so supportive they made you feel you were doing something that was really important.”
Like the characters in “The Full Monty,” Bomer and company haltingly approached their work.
“I’ve known Joe for 15 years. We’ve seen each other in so many horribly embarrassing, compromising situations. That really grounded it for me,” he says. “But, yeah, there were times when I thought, ‘This is terrifying’ and, at the same time, it was really enervating and exciting.”
Because male stripping isn’t exactly a common career, the actors realized — almost immediately — “it’s us against them,” Bomer says. “It’s an ensemble-based thing. I will have those guys’ backs in such a profound way for the rest of my life. That’s the nature of doing that line of work.”
“Magic Mike” represents a different side of Bomer who regularly stars in the USA Network’s “White Collar” and, last year, appeared as a 105-year-old man trapped in a 25-year-old’s body in “In Time.”
Bomer’s rule of thumb: “If it scares the —- out of me, I’m interested in doing it.
“The prospect of playing a 105-year-old man is pretty daunting.”
And “Magic Mike”? “I knew I was going to be working with an incredibly talented, buff group of guys, so I just reminded myself, I’d be the dude with the swimmer’s build….life is a spice rack, after all.”
Because it shoots less than six months out of a year, “White Collar” is an ideal “regular” job for the 34-year-old Texas native. “It gives me plenty of time to do work on other things. I’ve said no to things I’d love to do but I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it hadn’t been for the show. I can’t complain.”
“White Collar,” in fact, launched his career in a big, big way. It gives him a chance to play an edgy character who’s “always pushing the envelope.”
As con man Neal Caffrey, Bomer gets to surprise almost as often as the producers surprise him.
“The show is smart and really respects its audience,” he says. “I’ll get a call the night before we shoot, ‘Are you going to be able to recite a complete Byron poem the next morning?’ It’s 9:30. ‘I won’t look like I slept,’ but that’s OK. It’s a blast.”
Although film success is imminent, Bomer says he’ll stay with “White Collar” “as long as they’ll have him.
“I’m in it as long as we go,” he says. “I love the role. It’s a great part and a great project.”
Even more interesting? Before enrolling at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama (where he first met Manganiello), Bomer had a thick Southern accent. At school, he says, “they break you down and you start from scratch.”
The accent is mostly hidden. “But whenever I’m drunk, angry or sad, it comes right back.”