Matt Bomer dresses down for Magic Mike
LOS ANGELES – Matt Bomer’s crazy busy these days, but he’s sane enough to know he should count his blessings.
“For me to complain about anything would just be wrong,” says the handsome Bomer at a Beverly Hills hotel suite.
He will admit, however, to a schedule overload during the next five months.
He’s finishing up filming the fourth season of the hit USA Network series White Collar. After that, he goes right into the film comedy You Don’t Love Me Yet, followed by the drama The Normal Heart.
Currently, he co-stars in Magic Mike, which opened June 29. In the Steven Soderbergh movie, Bomer plays a male stripper in an ensemble. The other handsome hunks include Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Matthew McConaughey, the full-time manager of the club and part-time male dancer.
Tatum is Magic Mike, who is the main mover and shaker among the strippers. But that’s not a surprise since the film is loosely based on Tatum’s experiences as an 18-year-old in Tampa. He only lasted a year, but it was enough to convince Soderbergh that they should collaborate on a film.
Apparently, Tatum was also the main cheerleader in support of his fellow actors who had to bump and grind for the first time. Tatum’s experience as a former stripper and modern dancer paid off. “He defies the laws of gravity in the movie,” admits Bomer.
The others had a learning curve to endure, so they could get into the groove in a sexy kind of way.
“It was like a stripper boot camp,” says Bomer of their three-week training course. “We had choreographers used by Britney Spears and Madonna.”
The sessions provided the actors an opportunity to do more than a few things minus prying eyes.
“We embarrassed ourselves in the privacy of our own rehearsal room,” Bomer says. “But the best part of it was that it became this ensemble-building experience. We all knew we were terrified, but we manned up together to get it done.”
By the time they got on set, with helpful encouragement from Soderbergh and Tatum, they were ready to give it a go. “Channing was so magnanimous from start to finish,” says Bomer.
The other positive thing about the Magic Mike challenge was that it fit into the actor’s criteria of taking chances. “As an artist you have to decide, ‘OK, I am going to stay in my comfort zone, or I am going to work outside that comfort zone.”
At first, even his White Collar part was a change of pace. He plays Neal Caffrey, a criminal used by the FBI to catch crooks in his former line of work as an art and securities thief and counterfeiter.
“White Collar certainly was not in my comfort zone when I first got it,” Bomer says. “But I am lucky enough to have writers who haven’t become complacent in telling someone’s story, so they keep me engaged.”
It also provides a nice home base for Bomer, who has six months of the year available to connect with other projects, including the movie version of the Jonathan Lethem novel You Don’t Love Me Yet.
The Normal Heart, which starts filming in the fall, is especially important to the openly gay actor.
It’s the Ryan Murphy (Glee) movie version of the autobiographical play by Larry Kramer, which examines the rise of HIV-AIDS in New York during the early 1980s.
Bomer plays a New York Times style reporter who falls for a gay activist (Mark Ruffalo) unwilling to stay quiet as the health issue reaches crisis proportions.
“It becomes the story of unconditional love in a romantic relationship under fire,” he says. “I have never felt a responsibility to get a role right more than this. We want (the movie) to be unflinchingly truthful.”
In the meantime, he’s circling a biopic about Montgomery Clift, an acclaimed actor who allegedly had affairs with men and women during his erratic Hollywood career in the 1940s and 1950s.
“I keep trying to be proactive,” says Bomer, who writes when he can find the time. “Whenever I come up for air, I always try to put pen on paper.”
He’s also not too big for his britches to acknowledge his breakout past as spy Bryce Larkin on the critically acclaimed Chuck from 2007 to 2009.
“Chuck fans are really incredible,” Bomer says. “So anytime somebody comes up to me as a Chuck fan, I know they are loyal to the show and to me.
“And let’s face it,” he adds, “I’m always hoping somebody is responding to what I do. Otherwise, I’m just talking to myself.”
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette