HFPA in Conversation: Matt Bomer, Building a Relatable Criminal

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros February 12, 2020
Actor Matt Bomer, Godlen Globe winner

magnus sundholm/hfpa

Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer delved deep into his new character on the TV show The Sinner: he participated with his castmates in a dream analysis workshop. “We got up and did exercises in front of each other. We had to really bare our souls in front of each other, which was a way to really get it in your bones, the material and what you wanted to bring to the material and what your subconscious was wanting to bring to the material. I know it sounds very esoteric but it works,” Bomer told HFPA journalist Greet Ramaekers.

The course also helped him feel safe and be vulnerable to the other actors. “You can oftentimes spend the first few weeks or even a month on a shoot just getting to know somebody. The workshop helped to break down all those walls right out of the gate.

In this season of The Sinner Bomer plays Jamie Burns, a man who seemingly has it all but whose life ends up getting out of control. He was intrigued by the care, nuance and psychological depth of the character. “I’d been a fan of the series for the first two seasons. I’d met series creator Derek Simonds a few years before when he was attached to Call Me By Your Name in an earlier iteration. We hit it off and I liked the way he worked.”

They talked about Nietzsche and existentialism and continued to meet over the course of the next couple of months. “The story of Jamie Burns and what was going to occur this season slowly unraveled. I think Derek does such a great job at asking the why, not who did it but why did they do it and looking into the darker corners of our psychology rather than just writing someone off as bad, finding the humanity in it and finding a really relatable set of circumstance where these actions that are criminal stem from.”

Listen to the podcast and find out whether he always wanted to be an actor; what are his thoughts about method acting; what was his backup plan; what was the first TV show that gave him a small part almost 20 years ago; how he got a job on White Collar; how he got to know President Bill Clinton; when he learned Magic Mike was going to be a big studio summer release; why The Normal Heart was an important project for him; how is his working relationship with Ryan Murphy; why activism is important for him; what love means to him; why music is important to him; whether he has time for hobbies; and if he has he ever been a sinner.