Matt Bomer Round UpWednesday, March 28, 2012
Glee Guest Matt Bomer on Living Out His Duran Duran Fantasy, Kissing Jane Lynch and More!
Glee news flash: Blaine’s older brother is the ultimate tool.
On April 10, White Collar hunkmuffin Matt Bomer guest stars on the Fox hit as Darren Criss’ onscreen sibling Cooper Anderson, a local commercial actor who takes his craft — and himself — way too seriously. The gig gave Bomer a chance to flex his comedic muscles (his uproarious “Master Class in Acting” is so wrong it’s right) and return to his musical roots (Spring Awakening and Grey Gardens are among his early theatrical credits.)
TVLINE | How did the gig come about?
I had heard the Gotye song ["Somebody That I Used to know"] and I asked [series co-creator] Ryan [Murphy] if he ever thought of using that as a duet on the show. And he said he had. And then a week later I got a text from him asking me if I wanted to come on the show to sing it. And I said, ‘Absolutely!’
TVLINE | Was it fun playing such a D-bag?
[Laughs] To me, the fun of the role was getting to play somebody who had such strong convictions and opinions about all of the wrong things and in all of the wrong ways. At the heart of it, he really does want to help his brother avoid the slings and arrows of being a young artist. He clearly hasn’t had an easy road of it as an actor. And over the course of that path, he sort of developed his own short cuts and tricks of the trade, which are all horribly misleading and misguided.
TVLINE | Have you ever encountered someone like Cooper?
Yeah, of course. Any actor who participated in drama in high school or college had experience with guest speakers. And sometimes there’s a lot of gold in their advice. And then sometimes you’re just scratching your head. [Laughs] I’ve definitely had crazy acting teachers… Just completely bat s–t crazy. I’m not going to name any names.
TVLINE | The script also has some fun with your looks. I think Kurt refers to you as the most good-looking guy in all of North America. What is it like to hear that? Does it make you uncomfortable?
It makes me think, ‘I really hope hair and makeup [shows up] to work that day.” [Laughs] At the end of the day, Cooper is just desperate for validation. For him, hearing something like that is just the best news ever. That was the fun of the journey. I think he comes back to town under the ruse that he’s doing all of this gritty work for the next commercial campaign. But I think he also needs to get back in touch with his roots and reality because he’s having a tough go of it. But then once he realizes that he’s kind of a hometown hero, the hubris kicks in and his ego expands exponentially.
TVLINE | What was your dynamic like with Darren?
I had an incredible time working with Darren. He was completely professional and fun and came to play. We had a lot of laughs between takes, and we had a lot of fun playing off of each other. Anytime you’re playing someone’s sibling you want to get to know that person and it’s important that they be accessible to that, and Darren was completely open and available so that we were able to develop a friendship and get an idea of what it would be like to actually be brothers.
TVLINE | You guys perform a Duran Duran mash-up at the beginning of the episode — — was that a childhood dream come true for you?
When I was a kid, my brother and I shared a room and he used to put on the Duran Duran tape — yes, I said tape — every night we would listen to “The Reflex” and “Rio” and all of the old hits they had. So it was a real dream come true to get to record them.
TVLINE | Did this give you the itch to maybe do a Broadway musical?
Given the right project it would be something really fun to do in the future. It’s just that I’m already in New York away from my family six months out of the year shooting [White Collar], so for me to take another six months away from them to do something on Broadway would be tricky at this point in time.
TVLINE | What was it like to kiss Jane Lynch?
Fantastic. [Laughs] I think Jane sussed out right away that my character was just all over the map, just a complete hot mess. And so she knew that whatever greeting they had together would be completely inappropriate. So she said, “Matt, on this take, just kiss me on the lips.” I said, “Great. You don’t have to ask me twice.” It was nice. She had a lovely lip gloss on that tasted quite nice.” [Laughs]
'Glee's' Matt Bomer Teases Cooper Anderson's Arrival: It's an Emotional Tornado
The "White Collar" star tells THR how his character -- a local celebrity -- wants to help New Directions and whether or not Cooper Anderson could return for graduation.
When Matt Bomer's Cooper Anderson arrives at Glee's McKinley High, Blaine's (Darren Criss) older brother will cause quite a stir when everyone -- including Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester -- is impressed with the local celebrity.
While his heart is in the right place, the White Collar star tells The Hollywood Reporter that his hilariously named character is a total hot mess when it comes to offering career advice for the kids of New Directions: Point to be dramatic! Wink to be funny! "Unfortunately the wisdom he's dispensing is really illegitimate and awful," Bomer says.
THR: Considering your partner, Simon Halls, is Ryan's agent, has working with Ryan been something you’ve wanted to do for a long time?
Matt Bomer: I've been a huge fan of Ryan's work for years, so yeah absolutely. I've met him socially at Golden Globes and incidentally at things over the years. But the first time we sat down together was at the meeting for was for The Normal Heart in September and I was blown away by his talent. To be honest, nobody makes me laugh harder.
Is that where the idea for the best-named character ever -- Cooper Anderson -- was hatched?
(Laughs) I can't take credit for that, I'm sure that was either Ryan or Ian Brennan. Ryan called me one day and asked if I wanted to play Darren Criss' brother on the show. I was floored and said absolutely. He pitched story line and I was literally crying from laughter hearing what a hot mess this character was and how much fun it was going to be to get to play it. He, Ian and [Glee writer] Michael Hitchcock put together a real gift of a role for me to get to play.
How much of a "hot mess" is Cooper Anderson?
He's somebody who has really strong convictions and opinions that are completely misguided and ill founded but his heart is in right place. He's back in town to rekindle relationship with his brother and he really wants to help him and his classmates skip out on some of the flames and arrows of the business that he's had to endure. I wanted to make sure that all the advice and "wisdom" he dispenses to the kids were all founded and based in something. He tells them, "What ever you do, don't go to New York," because he didn't have a good experience there and wants to save them the heartache of a very difficult business. Unfortunately the wisdom he's dispensing is really illegitimate and awful. (Laughs.)
What's Cooper's claim to fame? What puts him in this position where he's able to give everyone career advice?
His claim to fame is this free credit rating commercial; it's about a 15-second spot. I'd always pictured it based on the success of this, he'd done signings at malls in the Midwest so when he comes home to Ohio, he's a local celebrity because people recognize that spot. It's not a terribly common thing at McKinley to have someone who's been in a commercial to be roaming the halls. He comes home and has this moment where he says, "God it's great to be back in Midwest." It's the impetus of it all; he's somebody who is desperate for validation and the second he gets that, it kicks right in to the hubris. It ends up costing him and he realizes at the end of the episode that if he doesn't calm it down he's going to lose his relationship with his brother.
What’s Cooper's relationship with Blaine like? Are they close?
Like any relationship with brothers, it's complicated and complex. It's a competitive relationship, a loving relationship. He feels a sense of responsibility as an older brother to look out for his younger brother. He also knows that his brother is incredibly talented, maybe more so than he is and he wants to make sure that that talent gets seen in more than just a free credit rating commercial, not that there's anything wrong with that, but he wants more for his brother and he knows he's going to have a lot of success. He wants to help usher him in to that success in the best way he knows how.
How is Cooper received at McKinley?
He comes home and immediately has this validation on all fronts. The jingle from his commercial is Kurt's (Chris Colfer) ringtone and Sue (Jane Lynch) recognizes him and expresses what a huge fan she is. They have an immediate slightly romantic kinship that happens. She asks him to give this master class to the kids, so he's met with validation and affirmation all around him. He's just the kind of person where that sparks poor behavior in him. It's well intentioned but ultimately poor behavior.
Is he as amazing as everyone thinks he is?
If you look at wisdom he's dispensing, it's obviously not the kind of acting technique that's going to take one far in the business. There's a ceiling on the type of work that he's encouraging these young people to do.
What kind of acting tips does he offer?
Point to whomever you're talking to, especially if it's a dramatic scene because otherwise the audience isn't going to know who you're talking to and you have to know that you're being very direct, and that's what made movies like Schindler's List really great (laughing). And in comedy, you have to wink to get a laugh out of people. He has all kinds of exercises to warm the kids up, like the "emotion tornado" and things of that ilk. The emotion tornado says a lot about Cooper Anderson in many ways (laughs).
Will he ultimately provide any guidance that helps New Directions at Nationals?
I don't think so. I remember being in high school and college and people would come back and speak to us. As a young artist, these pearls of wisdom were flying at us with this divine guidance and I had to write down every sentence. I look back on it now and they were just crazy. I think there's something innately inspiring about having somebody who has worked in the business coming and talking to you and sharing their experience but in terms of actual practical application of the guidance? Absolutely not.
Whose idea was the Duran Duran mash-up and what was singing on the show like?
I'm sure it was Ryan's idea. It was really surreal and amazing. I grew up sharing a room with my brother and every night we'd listen to the tape -- I know I'm dating myself! -- of Duran Duran as we went to bed for a good solid year. So getting to go in and record that was a dream come true. And getting to perform it with someone as talented as Darren was the icing on the cake.
Could Cooper Anderson return? maybe for graduation?
I would love to come back to Glee at some point, schedule permitting, and see what Cooper is up to and what kind of tricks and advice he has up his sleeve in the future. I'm already shooting White Collar and that pretty much takes up all my time.
What was it like going from a drama like White Collar to a comedy? Is that something you’re interested in doing more of?
Absolutely. Comedy is harder work in some ways in that you really have to ground all the humor otherwise it's just superficial. I had a great time getting to be silly and play somebody whose perspective was so skewed.
'Glee' scoop: Matt Bomer talks playing Blaine's brother and how it differed from 'Magic Mike' -- 'A lot less body rolling'
Gleeks already knew that Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) was dreamy. But, on the April 10 episode of Glee, viewers will get to meet Blaine’s even dreamier older brother, Cooper — yes Cooper Anderson — played by White Collar‘s Matt Bomer.
Cooper is the star of a credit rating commercial which makes him an A-list celebrity in Lima, Ohio and major crush material for Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). He also gives the New Directions kids a “master class” in acting with such gems as “The key to a dramatic scene is pointing,” and “The secret to great acting is ignoring whatever the other actor is doing.”
Says Bomer, “It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. It’s so fun to play a character who has such strong convictions and opinions that are completely misguided and come from all the wrong places.”
The actor also gets to duet with Criss on a medley of Duran Duran tunes and a cover of the current hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. EW talked to Bomer about the hit Fox series, Cooper’s inspiration, and how his stripper moves from this summer’s male stripper flick Magic Mike influenced his Glee dancing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Are you a Gleek?
MATT BOMER: Yeah, I definitely had tuned in for quite a few episodes. Ryan just gave me the call and said, “Do you wanna come on and be part of an episode?” And I said, “Absolutely. That would be fantastic.” He called me the next day and pitched me the character and the story arc and I literally had tears rolling down my face. [Co-creator] Ian Brennan is a friend of mine as well. They both just gave me such rich material to go off of. They let me go as cray cray as I wanted to.
I love that you just used “cray cray.” I always say that.
I use cray cray in the episode too; I’m not sure if it made it.
When you go back to White Collar, will you be pointing more?
[Laughs] Definitely. There’s definitely going to be a lot more pointing just to make sure the audience knows who I’m talking to. And if you see me in a two shot with Tim DeKay I might have earplugs in my ears. I don’t have to keep track of what his character is saying to mine.
At the very end of your master class, you say you’re going to show everyone the “emotional tornado.” What does that exactly look like?
I think there were a couple of takes where we actually got into it a little bit. What I basically started with is “Your fingers are up in the clouds. Uh oh — is there a little electricity brewing? Is a storm gonna come? Uh oh — I’m feeling some emotions in the tips of my fingers and now it’s dripping down. Now it’s in my elbows…” [Laughs]
You and Jane were so great together. Was that fun?
I adore Jane Lynch, so just to get the opportunity to work with her was phenomenal. She obviously is incredibly astute and sussed out very early on that my character was a hot mess. The idea of me to kiss her was actually Jane’s idea. She said, “I think our greeting should just be completely inappropriate.” And I said, “Hey you don’t have to ask me twice to kiss you.” She just went for it. I loved it. It was a lot of fun to work with her.
Did you base Cooper on anyone? Any actors you’ve met over the years?
I based Cooper on a combination of Tom Cruise in Magnolia, Valerie Cherish [from The Comeback], and a really crazy acting teacher I had who shall remain nameless. I remember taking notes copiously and trying to infuse it all into my acting. I look back and, oh no they were just batsh*t crazy.
Between the Duran Duran medley and the Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know,” did you prefer one performance over the other?
To me they were both completely different experiences. The Duran Duran was just fun pop and it was great to get to dance and interact and use the whole one-upmanship of all that. But to me, I love the Gotye song because it’s so actable and so immediate and so inherently dramatic.
Did your Magic Mike choreography help you out at all with the Glee dancing?
[Laughs] It’s so funny, about five minutes into the choreography session for the Duran Duran session I realized “Oh the Magic Mike choreography is very different from the Glee choreography. It’s not all about me shaking my crotch!” A lot less body rolling going on. It was a lot of fun to do the boy-band choreography I never got to do.