In celebration of tonight’s premiere of White Collar on USA, the fabulous folks at the network and the show let a few of website editors join the cast on location for a nice chat with four of the main cast members, and the costume designer. In today’s Take Five, we look at what each of these cast members said about their characters and the show, and what the costume designer had to say about their fabulous wardrobe!
Matthew Bomer plays Neal Caffrey talking about what drew him to Neal – “Well, what I loved about him from the get go, was that he was flawed. He wasn’t – I mean, he had this – he has this veneer of the charming, hyper-intelligent, eloquent, sly mastermind, but underneath, he was really a kind of diehard romantic who would go to any lengths to find the love of his life. Not only was that his motivating force, but it was also kind of his Achilles heel, because then it ends up getting him caught and – but I liked the fact that, even though the fun he puts on is so suave and debonair, underneath there’s somebody who is also – has a hard time – has always really relied on himself, and doesn’t really trust a lot of people.
Tim DeKay plays Peter Stokes talking about his character’s background – “I think Peter that came from a very working class background, but was incredibly smart. I say that Peter and Neal both scored exceedingly high on their SATs. I think Neal shared it with quite a few people. Peter was embarrassed to tell people, because where he lived, it just wasn’t cool. Not that it was wrong, but it just—and when he got into a really good school and got letters from these schools, he probably told my dad, “Yeah, I don’t know if these schools, they want me to go there.” Really, you know, because in a way, it’s a comment on, I’m smarter than you dad. You know what I mean? So, there is that and because Peter has that sensitivity, I think he grew up watching people and watching behavior. So, combined with his intelligence and just cerebrally, he’s also intuitive to people. Like, when he asks the question, I think—I hope you see it, I ask a question, and it really doesn’t matter what the answer is, it’s that second right after you ask it. So, you stay with somebody and then it doesn’t matter what they say, it’s their initial reaction and I think Peter kind of grew up that way. Plus he was really good at math and I went to school with a lot of guys who were accounting majors and then the FBI said, “Hey, do you want to help us solve white collar crimes?” But, not the glamorous, sexy ones that we solve, the ones where, you know, somebody’s embezzled some money. So—and a lot of those guys were ex-jocks too and I think Peter’s an ex-jock.”
Tiffani Thiessen plays Elizabeth Stokes on what she draws on for her relationship with Peter – “Well, I think just myself, you know, being married. I’ve been married almost four and a half years now. And it’s a relationship that I know—you know, a lot of times on TV, and even movies, you see these relationships that don’t work. It’s always about the ones that don’t work. And it’s the drama and it’s this. It’s nice to see a relationship on TV that does work, and they’ve been together for a long time. And they really do have each other’s best interest at heart. And I feel like I, you know, my husband and I have that. My husband is my best friend. I tell him everything. And our characters, Elizabeth and Peter, I feel, are kind of the same way. We come from very different worlds on the show. He’s an FBI agent, and here I am doing high profile events, doing like the Vanity Fair parties, couldn’t be more different. But, for some reason, we’re able—and the scenes that you guys will see at home—at our home and even outside the house, it’s just—you see the like dynamics of how we really just care about each other. It’s not about what we do for a living, it’s about what we do at home and about each other and the priorities that we put for it.”
Willie Garson plays Mozzie on what drew him to the character – “Yeah, I did because it’s very different from anything else I’ve ever played. Although—how do I make this not sound the way it’s going to sound? I guess because it’s me, he’s somehow becoming more stylish. All of a sudden, he’s looking—wearing pretty cool clothes. And I don’t know how that happens to me, but I am blessed with always wearing cool clothes. But I was really drawn to kind of an under-the-radar kind of guy rather than an out-there kind of guy. And it also gives a lot of opportunities to play with, you know, me pretending to be other people and working scams behind the scenes rather than in front of the scenes. So that’s pretty cool. And I just thought—I’m also a big fan of all those shows that I grew up on, and this is—it’s Huggy Bear, it’s Angel from Rockford Files. It’s that subversive guy in the background, the brains behind the brain. And that’s very—that was interesting to me.”
Stephanie Maslansky on the fashion in the show – “It’s interesting sometimes just looking at—but what we’ve done is we’ve also made it a little bit more contemporary, because if you go back and look at the true silhouette of the Rat Pack era, you’ll notice that the jackets are shorter, but they’re a bit boxier. You can actually see that in Mad Men, which is really true to the era. And the clothes are terrific. But the colors are different. The silhouette is slightly different. And what we’ve done is we’ve taken that style and made it a bit more contemporary. But one thing that—one direction that this show is going, which I feel that I’ve picked up this notion and kind of run with it, is I’m keeping the look of all of the characters a bit more elegant, a bit more sophisticated than people really are these days in New York City. I don’t know. It was not necessarily something that we all specifically agreed upon, but it’s where we’ve gone with it, and everybody seems to feel that that’s the right direction. And I’m really happy with it. And it’s a lot of fun for me because I not only—I combine both vintage looks with contemporary looks, and I take vintage clothing and tailor it to fit Matt in a specific way. Peter always wears the same Brooks Brothers suit, he has a very specific look that—also, he has a very slim silhouette and a very sort of elegant silhouette. But he, actually, confesses to the fact that he isn’t interested in clothes and always his character has been wearing the same suit forever. In the show, I choose the same style. Primarily, he wears Brooks Brothers. He also wears some Burberry—sort of very traditional classic clothing makers that I found. Paul Stuart as well. But then, again, we tailor to fit Tim’s physique and to fit the character. So, everybody has a very particular style for a very particular reason.”