In the interview below, Magic Mike star Bomer talks about his character Neal's "conflict" in season three, his thoughts on filming an episode in the UK and how long he plans to stay with White Collar now that his Hollywood star is on the rise!
Are you pleased that White Collar has found a new UK home on Alibi?
"I guess a little bit - it's hard for me to tell, as I've only been to London once since we started work on the series. We're certainly glad that it's playing over there, and I look forward to my next trip to gauge the response a little bit better."
Will White Collar ever come to London for a special episode?
"Oh I would love that, I think London is a great setting for it and I'm a complete Anglophile, so I would be in heaven!"
The show's third season is about to air in the UK - what can fans expect?
"What I love about season three is that Neal's conflict goes from an external one to an internal one - which is 'Do I stay or do I go?' - and the trust dynamics between he and Peter (Tim DeKay) get thrown completely out of whack this season.
"So a lot of it is about them sussing each other out and Neal figuring out if he's going to be a career criminal or does he really have value and worth at the FBI."
A lot of Neal's past is still shrouded in mystery - do you want to learn more about him, or should he remain an enigma?
"We get glimpses of that towards the end of the season, but we don't really get into his past until the fourth season. But one of the fun things about this character is he has so many secrets - all the scenes with him and Peter are like two friends who respect each other in terms of intellect, but are constantly playing a poker game together. There's the face you present and the hand you're holding behind your back at the same time."
Is it fun playing that dynamic between Neal and Peter with Tim DeKay?
"It is great - he is a fun person and actor and I feel spoilt because we get to work and play together. Like two kids that they have to come in from the sandbox at the end of the day!'
Balanced with professionalism!
"Absolutely, we're not just joking around all day, I promise! Our characters are so fun to play and we're always huddling up between takes and figuring out how to make a scene better, a joke funnier or whatever it may be on any given day.
"We love the work - acting at its best, even in serious scenes, needs to have some sense of play with it and being in the moment."
Tim directed you in season three - how was that experience?
"It was amazing, he approached it so intelligently, I watched him in several episodes leading up to his directing - taking notes and studying shots and learning as much as he could so that when he came to sit in that directors' chair, he knew everything.
"He wasn't leaning on anyone just so he could get a directing credit. He really did it right, and was so great with the actors and the technical aspects as well."
Would you like to direct an episode?
"I would love to, but it's difficult for me in the show because I very rarely get a half day off and it's not something I'd want to do just to say, 'I directed an episode' and lean on the DOP [director of photography] to do the whole job. I'd really want to make sure I could prep and do it right, but if the opportunity ever comes up, that would be great."
White Collar has a dedicated fanbase and has won People's Choice Awards, but is it frustrating that the Emmys don't recognise the series and other USA shows?
"Well, I don't read reviews because I think that's dangerous, but critically it was very well-received. But in terms of trophies and things like that... no, it doesn't bother me, I think the response from people on the street is more important.
"I was riding my bike the other day and a woman pulled into her driveway to cut me off and tell me that she was in a really low depression when she discovered the show, and the escapism White Collar offered gave her something to focus on - that for me outweighs trophies and awards."
White Collar creator Jeff Eastin has said that he can imagine the show running for ten seasons - would you be happy to play Neal for that long?
"Well, we're very lucky in that the writers never settle into a simple 'case of the week' comfort zone - they are always writing challenges and nuances for us to play - and as long as they keep evolving the characters and keep it interesting, I am happy to stay along for the ride."
Did the success of Magic Mike take you by surprise, and are you hoping to focus more on movies now?
"I am so grateful that people responded that way to the film, but when I signed on I thought it was a really small independent film that would be a small gritty story that Steven Soderbergh was directing - and then it became something very different which is amazing and completely surprising! I'm so glad that Channing [Tatum] decided to tell the story and I got to be a part of it."
You take your top off a lot in the film - how was that?
"Fear is a great motivator, so I just remember that at some point they're going to call 'action', and I'm going to be scantily clad and going to be held accountable for it, so fear motivates me to go work out. It depends on the character - I don't want every role to be somebody who's doffing their shirt!"
White Collar season three starts on Tuesday, February 19 at 10pm on Alibi.