White Collar is juicier than ever in Season 4, so we were excited to get a chance to talk with J. Bernard Calloway, who will be guest starring in a fun part in Season 4, Episode 4: "Parting Shots."
J. Bernard, who has a long acting resume, with highlights like The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Law & Order, and Memphis, which is currently finishing its Broadway run, gave us a tantalizing look into what's to come when the new episode of White Collar airs this Tuesday, July 31. Look out for another love interest for Neal, a twist plot, and lots of action!
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Wetpaint Entertainment Staff: Tell us about your White Collar role.
J. Bernard Calloway: I'm playing this role, his name is Tony, he's the security guard, body guard, for the character of [Sophie Covington], which is played by Laura Vandervoort. Matt Bomer's character, [Neal Caffrey], is this love interest type thing to her, since her husband passed away. There's something that happens between myself, [Neal], and this other guy who has interests in her and the money she gets from the passing away of [another] person, I'll say. I turn from loyal to enemy in the flick of a few scenes.
Obviously, this season of White Collar kicked off with Neal's escape and return to New York. Is there still fallout from that in your episode?
There's a trickling over of that. It doesn't bleed into it too much, because of the circumstances of what happens in this episode, because of Laura's character. She's the lead lady that they brought in from LA to shoot — her name is Laura Vandervoort. Please look out for her. She's a wonderful actress. [Her character] comes in and she shakes things up. Someone passes away. And then — when someone passes away, what's the next thing you have to deal with, especially when people have money? It's money! So people go different ways about getting the money, be it a negative way or a positive way. Be it through bribing — there's a lot of that going on.
To answer your question, not much bleeds over with Neal as far as that is concerned, but they touch on it a little bit.
You say Laura's character is a love interest for Neal?
Yeah — it develops into that.
Can you tell us a little about her character?
The character is a no-nonsense type person that really is a sweet girl, and is really trying to find the truth of how to go about dealing with the death of a family member, and navigating through that without getting hurt.
It's a very exciting [episode]. There's a lot of drama and action that happens in it. That usually happens in White Collar with what Neal does, and the other characters around him. It's the same kind of nucleus and setup, but the circumstances are such that you'll keep wanting to see what happens through each scene.
What was it like working on White Collar?
My process on this whole thing was really, really, really great. Matt Bomer was really great, we had a lot of fun. We shot for maybe five days, and I had a really, really great time. Without me giving away too much ... my character comes in and does his thing, and changes things up. He shakes things up really well. It's very unexpected.
Had you watched White Collar before this part?
I did not. I have to be honest, I did not. Normally before I go out for stuff I like to watch it and see what it's about. Obviously it's the smart thing to do, right? And as soon as I did I was like "whoa, I should have been watching this a couple seasons ago!" It's one of my new favorites, really. Along with True Blood.
Oh, we love True Blood!
Oh, come on, you know I am vampire! [laughs] I love that show.
It sounds like you had a good time on the White Collar set.
It was. It was really a good time. Matt, man. Matt Bomer is really the people's person. He's a guy's guy, he really is. He's so compatible. He's very fun. He doesn't take other people coming onto the set for granted. He invests in them. He even tried to come see my show [Memphis] while he could. But he has to fly back and forth to LA, because his family is in LA.
Speaking of Memphis, you have a lot of experience acting for both stage and screen. What's the biggest difference for you, and which do you prefer?
The difference between the two, for me, is the audience. There's nothing like that live audience and the energy that the live audience gives back to you. Working on film, television, there's the inanimate object that's staring at you. You have to be able to have a skill of relaying to the audience through that camera, which is an inanimate object. That's when you have to really have skill to really be a great storyteller. [In theater], night in and night out you can feed off the energy of the audience, because theater lives and breathes differently every night. I can do different takes on my lines depending on how it's being received by my castmates on stage — or on set, for that matter. But when you're by yourself, doing those one-on-one camera shots, you have to pull that out of yourself. You have to really be into what the story is, verses being able to feed off of another actor.
If I honestly have to pcik, I would say my favorite would be thearter. But it's a double edged sword, because film and television pays the bills, let me just be honest. [Laughs]. It is great money. Especially commercials. I love commercials! [And] theater is just a lot more work. Going out eight shows a week, doing the same thing over and over, and trying to find a way to make it fresh for yourselves, because if it doesn't feel real to you — that's another thing about theater — the audience isn't dumb. They'll know that you're putting on.
If you're in the NYC area and want to catch J. Bernard on stage before Memphis closes on August 5, you can buy tickets at Memphisthemusical.com. For more on J. Bernard, visit his website, Jbcalloway.com.
And, of course, remember to tune in to White Collar on Tuesday, July 31 on USA.
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Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.