"I have a lot to be thankful for," says Matt Bomer of his busy year. "I've gotten to work with a lot of great people that I've dreamed of working with for years, and got to play a lot of really fun roles." The actor recently guest-starred on "Glee," will appear in Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike," and is now back to work shooting a fourth season of USA's popular drama "White Collar."
After starting his career in musical theater, he landed his first major TV role on the now defunct CBS soap opera "Guiding Light," where he appeared from 2001 to 2003 as Ben Reade. Anticipating a short stint on the show, he encouraged the writers to give him "the craziest storyline you've ever given anyone," and they obliged, turning his character into an abuse victim, a gigolo, a serial killer, and a kidnapper in a dramatic sendoff that culminated in his suicide, of which he says, "These kinds of things happen in Springfield on any given day!"
He followed "Guiding Light" with various film and television work before being cast in "White Collar" in 2009 as Neal Caffrey, a skilled con artist enlisted by the FBI to help solve cases. "I think I'd been working in TV long enough to know not to have any expectations," says Bomer of the series's breakout success. Last season his co-star, Tim DeKay, directed an episode of the series, and Bomer may eventually follow suit: "I don't want to be somebody who directs just to have that mantle. I've been studying it, brushing up on a lot of the USC Film School curriculum actually, so that when I do get a chance to do it I know what I'm talking about and I'm not just leaning on the director of photography the whole time."
"White Collar" returns on July 10, but fans had a chance to see another side of him when he appeared last month on "Glee" in the episode "Big Brother," which was a rare opportunity for him to display his musical skills since he transitioned from stage to screen acting. He played Cooper Anderson, who returned to McKinley High School after a minor brush with fame. "He's somebody who has really strong convictions about all the wrong things," Bomer says of his arrogant character, who teaches his brother Blaine's (Darren Criss) classmates the fundamentals of dramatic acting, like emphatic pointing: "It's so funny, I was talking to Tim [DeKay] the other day and he said, 'I pointed in this scene and I made them do another take so I wouldn't point.' And I said, 'I don't think pointing is always bad.'"
In the episode, he also performed a duet of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" with his on-screen brother. Gotye later criticized the show's arrangement of his hit song, but Bomer stands by "Glee's" version, saying, "Art is completely subjective, so everybody is allowed their viewpoints on whatever you do. I was really proud of the arrangement … and I'm a fan of Gotye as well."
There's no rest for the weary. In addition to his TV schedule, Bomer also co-stars as a stripper in "Magic Mike," which opens June 29. The role intimidated him, and that's one of the reasons he took it: "Nothing can really prepare you for walking out in front of a group of a hundred screaming women and taking your clothes off and working your stuff to try to make a little money," he says of his revealing role, "so all the stage experience in the world can only help so much." Nevertheless, he says, "I had the time of my life."
He is also set to appear in "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy's upcoming film adaptation of the play "The Normal Heart," playing the role that won John Benjamin Hickey a Tony last year: Felix Turner, a man suffering from AIDS in the early days of the AIDS crisis. "This play and the movie for me is such a testament to unconditional love and sticking by people in the hardest of times, so I'm really excited about it and feel a tremendous sense of responsibility."
Bomer is a possible Emmy contender for "Glee" and "White Collar." If "The Normal Heart" is received as well on film as it was on stage, he could be an Oscar contender as well. And with his musical and theater exp