White Collar’s Tim DeKay Interview

January 16, 2011

White Collar’s Tim DeKay is fabulous as the no-nonsense by the books FBI agent Peter Burke. I was lucky enough to participate in a Q&A interview with the amazing and hysterical DeKay and you can read all about it below. There are pictures and a video for you to check out as well.

Tim DeKay

Time DeKay, of White Collar fame, is not only an extremely talented actor but he is one heck of a funny guy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim the other day where he talked about his character and the show. It was a fantastic time and I can’t wait for the new season of this show.

Q. The working relationship between Peter and Neal is sort of an unusual one at best. Do you think this sort of relationship could exist within the FBI?
A. Well my technical consultant, Tom Barton, has expressed to both Jeff Eastin and me that there are relationships like this. To the extent that the CI or Criminal Informant just comes into the house and pours a bowl of cereal, I don’t know if it goes that far but Tom certainly has talked about how he’s received Christmas cards from people in prison that he’s worked with. That’s where Jeff’s inspiration came from. Who knows, maybe there is a relationship like that out there.

Q. How did you get started working on White Collar?
A. At the time, I was recurring on The New Adventures of Old Christine. I got a call to do a chemistry read for White Collar. I was excited because I thought, “I think I skipped a step there”, which was good, as opposed to just going in and auditioning. Then I went to the casting director’s office and Matt was there in the waiting room and we chatted. We went in there and as I’ve said many times as soon as we read the scene I thought, “Holy bleep, don’t screw this up, Tim, because this could be something really special.” Then there were all these tests and you sit in the waiting room and you see other guys who are reading and you think, “Oh, he’s going to get it. He’s my idea for the role.” You play all those crazy, stupid games. You know what, I have to admit, I didn’t play that game with this show.

Q. How would you like to see things change with the development of your character?
A. That’s a tough one. As far as character, I think Jeff and the writers have met everything that I had hoped for. The big story arc with the music box was something that I didn’t expect or even see. I would like to delve into some more of Peter’s background. Those are fun because what it comes down to is I think the more Peter and Neal know about each other actually strengthens and lengthens the relationship because these two just love to dig. Peter would love to meet a family member of Neal’s. He’d love to sit down and get to know his mom or dad or brother or sister.

Q. What can you actually tell us about what to expect when the episodes start airing again?
A. The last scene of the last episode wow. When I read the last episode I did everything I could not to call my wife, my dad, and just say “You won’t believe this. This is incredible,” but I didn’t want to do that because then they would just bug me. Jeff and the writers were able to shut the lid on the music box and within one second turn around and open up this other one that just was astounding. You can expect more fun too.

Q. What is it like filming your series on location in New York City?
A. It’s amazing. You couldn’t shoot it anywhere else. It’s just a blast to be in the city. We shoot quickly. We are shooting so that we can get a great angle. Russell Fine is fantastic that way. He’s the director of photography and the directors are with him too so they make sure we get some gorgeous building in the background for whatever location we find ourselves on. We shoot that and then we move on. We’re at some Gramercy Park the first half of the day and the second half of the day we’re on some dock down at the Bowery. It’s beautiful. I’ve seen parts of New York I never thought I would see.

Q. Do you watch yourself on the show?
A. I don’t like to but I think I’ve come to learn for myself at least that it is an education for yourself as an actor, to watch the stuff. We’ve got to come back to it. I’ve got to come back to Peter. I’m watching it and saying, “Oh, okay this works, that doesn’t work.” Because it’s such a group effort this filming, I can go “I see they edited the scene that way so that was their intent for this scene. Oh I was right about that. I saw which way they wanted the scene to go and I was right,” and then sometimes you think, “Oh, I missed it on that. This is how they wanted the scene to be seen in a different way than I did.” I’m not crazy about watching myself, but I feel I have to.

Q. You are horseback riding in the return episode. Is that something you’ve done before, or was it just on the moment this is what you’re going to do in this episode?
A. No, I’ve done that before. I don’t know what the final cut is but there was a lot of running the horse through Central Park. I used to ride when I was younger from like the age of eight until I went to college, but then I hadn’t ridden for about 20 years. I knew the episode would be riding so they were nice enough to say, “Let’s go out to upstate New York and you can ride and as the saying goes, get back on the saddle.” I did and it was great. The next day I could barely get out of bed my legs were so sore. My inner thighs—they were just killing me. I’ll cut to the day we’re shooting, I also had a bit of a cold coming on so there was just this moment where I realized, “Okay, I should take something for my cold,” because I was a bit stuffed up, “and I also should probably take something for my thighs because they were killing me.” I took everything at the same time and there was a moment where I was on the horse and they were about to say action and I had to run the horse under a bridge up over this hill. I was so woozy, I did everything I could just to stay on it. I thought for sure the medicine was just going to knock me out, I thought I was just going to pass out right on Pippin, that was the name of the horse.

Q. You had a great con episode where you see the chance to sort of turn the tables, how did you feel about being the con man?
A. I felt great about that. Peter gets giddy and it means that he gets to go to the other side for a little while, aw, that’s a blast. Certainly as an actor, whenever you can go not just one step into the imagination, but in essence two steps into the imagination, when your character plays a character, that’s even more fun as well. In the end that’s what we love to do as actors is just dive into the world of pretend. It was a hoot. You will see more of that. I think with everybody, that also goes back to the relationships that are strengthening with the other characters, we all are jumping into a lot of different arenas. I think it makes for some good story telling.

Q. What actors would you like to work with in the future on the show?
A. Every time I’m asked this question I feel awful because I have a list of about 25 people, be it names that you would know and then names that maybe you wouldn’t know, but are great actors that I know from theater or even way back in school. To give you two, my thought goes immediately to, “Oh, that’s going to be printed and I didn’t give them this name. Oh, I hope this person doesn’t read that because I’d love to work with them.” So I guess that would be my answer.

Fans of the USA hit show White Collar can rejoice, new episodes begin airing this Tuesday, January 18th at 10PM EST. I for one can not wait to see one of my favorite shows return. I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Tim DeKay as much as I enjoyed speaking with. He is a class act that is for sure.

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Photos: www.wenn.comA. Miller/Mr. Blue/Nikki Nelson/AdMedia/Ivan Nikolov

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One Response to “White Collar’s Tim DeKay Interview”

  1. 1
    Miriam Says:

    Love this interview