He may seem like the tame, ladies charmer on the TV series White Collar, but Matt Bomer has shaken things up a bit with his acting career, talking the role of a male stripper (or “exotic dancer,” as he clarifies) on the upcoming film, Magic Mike. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Bomer at the People’s Choice Awards, Jan. 11, discovering what it takes for an actor to transform into the role of a male stripper.
First, the Prep for the Role Involved Stripping Down to the Skin
“But more than that,” Bomer said, “the pain didn’t bother me so much; it was more the feeling of feeling kind of prepubescent again, walking around with no hair on your legs, in jeans, feeling kind of naked all the time. That was odd,” he told Entertainment Weekly on the red carpet interview.
It’s interesting how Matt describes this “feeling,” because likely, it is a similar feeling which a real stripper feels: feeling insecure in the nudeÂ—of baring everything to strangersÂ—constantly feeling that penetration and scrutiny. One would imagine that, for a real exotic dancer, he or she would need to learn the art of shifting personal privacy from the skin to the inner soul, relying less on a barrier of clothing for protection and more on character strength.
Second, Playing an ‘Exotic Dancer’ Involved a Mental Shift
With inner privacy tucked away internally, the exotic dancer’s body then becomes a means of workÂ—the “tool of the trade,” so to speak. For the stripper, this is an everyday experience, as this movie explores. But Matt Bomer also ties this mentality to the everyday woman, in that women use their bodies as their own “tool of the trade,” wielding it in ways that allure, dazzle, demonstrate confidence, and at times, seduce.
Matt said to EW, “Between the waxing, self-tanning, constant gym time, I have a whole new profound respect for women and what they go through.”
Third, Matt Bomer Prepares for Mockery
While Magic Mike is an anticipated film due to its racy theme (a man learning to strip tease), the movie will likely raise a few eyebrows and draw a few chuckles toward Bomer and his costars, Channing Tatum and Alex Pattyfer, when it hits the big screens in June of 2012. Bomer especially anticipates some mockery from Tim DeKayÂ—his costar on White Collar.
But the point of this movie is to explore these areas of sexuality, and ask the deeper questions that most people forget to ask when quick to mock. Director Steven Soderbergh is familiar with this type of exploration. He tackled a similar exploration in The Girlfriend Experience (2009), starring former porn star Sasha Gray, a drama centering on “a high-end Manhattan call girl meeting the challenges of her boyfriend, her clients, and her work” (IMDb).
Society has made a habit of separating sex from the layered dimensions of human character. As Chelsea says in The Girlfriend Experience, “Sometimes clients think they want the real you, but at the end of the day, they say they don’t. …They want you to be something else. They don’t want you to be yourself.” But this way of thinking leaves people with a disconnected, unsettled feelingÂ—knowing internally that there is something more, something deeper.
These types of movies force the audience to move past the fun and forbidden nature of sexuality, and ask the deeper questions of morality and character, exploring the nature and feelings behind the fancy stage act.