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By Suzanne

Marsha Thomason

Interview with Marsha Thomason of "White Collar" on USA 8/16/10

New Media Strategies / Electric Artists:
USA Network Q&A with Marsha Thomason
August 16, 2010/1:00 p.m. EDT

Marsha Thomason Ė Diana Barrigan, White Collar


Moderator Welcome to the USA Network Q&A Session with Marsha Thomason.

D. Christiansen Good afternoon, everyone. This is Danny Christiansen from New Media Strategies. Iíd like to thank everyone for joining us for todayís White Collar Q&A session. To start things off by thanking Marsh Thomason for being with us today to answer questions, so thank you, Marsha.

M. Thomason Youíre welcome.

D. Christiansen As you know Marsha plays Diana Barrigan on White Collar, which airs on Tuesdays at 9/8 Central on USA Networks. In a minute weíll begin the Q&A session. Iíd like to now turn the call back over to our Moderator, Mary, to begin the formal Q&A session.

Moderator Our first question comes from the line of Crystal Clark from Pop Culture Madness.

C. Clark What would you say motivates your character to get out of bed each day?

M. Thomason She just really loves solving crimes. She likes putting bad guys away. Of course, we all have a sense of right and wrong, but she really has a strong sense of that. She doesnít really deviate from it. So I think for her, her passion for being a FBI agent and getting out of bed and going to do that job everyday really is just getting the bad guys and helping innocent people.

C. Clark What would you say is one of the biggest challenges youíve faced while working on the show so far?

M. Thomason Well, there are a couple. One of them is some of the language that we have to use on the show. In the pilot I had on my very first day, it was this little speech and there was this big scene where we bust into this warehouse. Thereís an explosion and all of this. So basically every time we did it, even if you made a mistake, you just had to keep going until the end because we needed to get what bits and pieces we could. I had to say something about, ďExigent circumstance means we can do the blah, blah, blah and the thing in the face.Ē I had no idea what exigent circumstance was or how to say it in an American accent. I was nervous because it was my first day and it was just the most mortifying moment where I booked into this thing.

I managed to get one take out and then something happened and the second take, I go, ďExigent circumstance, blah, blah.Ē And Tim looks at me and I look at him like I donít know. I donít know what Iím saying. Just say your line. All of this through a lock, so thatís one of the tricky ones, sometimes some of the language.

And then some of the action still I find a little bit tricky. I enjoy it very much, but it can get very technical. Something as simple as the handcuffs that we use, obviously theyíre not real handcuffs because weíre dealing with actors and not perps. And so when you hook them on, the mechanism, it can just go around and around and around if that makes sense. And they can just take them off. In other words, it makes them really difficult to get on. They bounce back, and I just look completely inept. So thatís one of the ones.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Allison Toner from

A. Toner I understand that you read a lot on set. I was wondering what youíre reading right now.

M. Thomason I just actually started, I literally just like put it in my bag and Iíve read a page. And then I realized I needed to get in the shower and get myself prepared for this call. But I have The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls, which apparently is fantastic. It was recommended actually by a hair stylist on the show.

I just finished reading American Music, which actually the DP on our show, Russell Fine, gave to me because his friend, Jane Mendelsohn, is the author. She wrote a book called Looking for Amelia Earhart I think it was called. I never read that one. But thatís what I just finished reading. It was really wonderful, a beautiful love story.

A. Toner Ae you similar to your character, Diana, at all?

M. Thomason We look alike, which is kind of weird. Am I similar? Yes, sheís a ball buster. Which I guess is something that could be said about me. She really has a sense of doing the right thing and I have that. Weíre similar in many ways, actually. I couldnít imagine having a job where I had to wear a suit every day. But other than that, I think there are many similarities between us.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Lena Lamoray from

L. Lamoray Itís great having you back this season and ďNeed to KnowĒ has been my favorite episode so far. So you can you talk about filming it and what your favorite episode is?

M. Thomason That was my favorite episode. Though, actually Tuesday night, tomorrow nightís episode is another fun one for me, another one where I go undercover. Those are my favorite ones where we go undercover because I get to play another character on top of the character Iím already playing.

For me with ďNeed to Know,Ē my favorite part of it reallyówell, there were a few things. I loved our director, Sandy. He was fantastic. And I really enjoyed, itís simple, but I really enjoyed working with the Ö and I felt Ö, which you donít get to do every day. I felt like Angelina Jolie. I even told him I was going to shoot him in the shoulder. He didnít believe me and then I shot him in the shoulder.

L. Lamoray Can you talk about the pros and conís of filming in New York City?

M. Thomason Well, the proís is that itís New York City, hello. The con is that itís so bloody humid right now and Iím in a suit all the time. And I just literally, they come and powder me, so I look like Iím smooth and cool. Underneath Iím literally dripping with sweat. Itís so hot all the time. Itís kind of chaotic, but I like that. For me right now, it really is just the heat. Itís been a little difficult in that sense.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with the TV MegaSite.

S. Lanoue What was it like working opposite James Franco on General Hospital?

M. Thomason Confusing and this is fun. Heís a really lovely guy. I already knew him a little bit just from out and about in L.A., so it was kind of fun. It was bizarre world because here I am on the set of General Hospital, a soap opera institution, with James Franco, a big movie star playing a role that honestly I didnít even know what I was doing. They told me that I was going to be involved in espionage and that my character was going to be romantically involved with James and none of those things happened. I was just confused the whole time. I was just really confused and still confused.

S. Lanoue It didnít take too long to do the filming.

M. Thomason No, no. In soaps you literally get a take, so you need to nail it and then they move on. But I worked on it for about five weeks, just the odd day here and there, but you would never know by the amount that I was on the screen. The whole thing is just like a completeó I donít even know. I have no words. I donít even know what it was about.

S. Lanoue Soaps move so fast, it throws people off when theyíre not used to it.

M. Thomason No, no, no, thatís not why I didnít know what it was about. I didnít know what it was about because my character didnít have a name, because not one thing that they said I was going to be doing I did. I donít even know who I played and Iím just still so confused.

S. Lanoue So would you go back and do soaps again?

M. Thomason Weíll pop Ö on that one. Never say never.

S. Lanoue A lot of your costars got their start on soaps, Matt Bomer, Josh Ö, Vanessa Marcel.

M. Thomason Right, certainly, yes. But I already got my start, so I think for now; Iím going to stick with White Collar.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Tiffany Vogt from Airlock Alpha & Nice Girls TV.

T. Vogt I have a question with White Collar. What would you like personally for the writers to bring out more of in your character?

M. Thomason Ooh, la, ha! Oh my goodness Ö but I wonít. What I will say is I really love for us to find a Ö who is Ö talk about girls with me. That I would love very much. Iíd really like to see the relationship with Neal explored a little more. I work with Tim a heck of a lot on the show. We have a lot of scenes together. But Neal and Diana, itís kind of a slow build, so Iím really looking forward to seeing that storyline develop.

T. Vogt Do you think weíll be seeing more of a possibly a dark side to her?

M. Thomason I have no idea.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Kurt Wagner from RedEye Show Patrol.

K. Wagner I was wondering if weíre going to see more of her personal life, of Dianaís personal life and her girlfriend and all that kind of stuff.

M. Thomason Well, I was just saying actually so far, not so much. But the writers keep threatening me with that every time I ask them, ďHey, when are we going to meet Christy?Ē And theyíre like, itís coming, itís coming. Ö, but Iím hoping we meet Christy soon because Iíve shot quite a bit of footage in Dianaís house, but Christy is never there. Maybe Diana is just full of crap. Supposed she doesnít even have a girlfriend. Maybe Diana has never had a girlfriend and she just has a secret lonely life. She just goes home and cries into her pillow and makes the whole thing up.

K. Wagner Maybe sheís just saying it so Neal will leave her alone.

M. Thomason Thereís that, too. You never know. Though, that would be pretty elaborate because Peter even thinks that she has a Christy, so I donít know. I donít think she would like a Peter. I think Christy exists, but only on paper at this point.

Moderator We have a follow-up from the line of Suzanne Lanoue from the TV Megasite.

S. Lanoue Do the writers ever give you any background information about the character that maybe you havenít seen on the screen yet, but you use it to get information for yourself?

M. Thomason Well, no. Everything that weíve seen about Dianaís background, I know about Dianaís background. It basically came out in the second episode when she was in the hotel and talking to Neal. All I know is that theyíre not happy about her being in the FBI. They definitely wanted a different path for her. This was not part of their plan. And Ö who was like a father to him, and he was killed in the line of duty, so I know that thereís some darkness to their past, but not really.

S. Lanoue I hope we get to see more about her past and her family and everything.

M. Thomason So do I, so do I. I guess if people request it and you guysí blog about it, maybe theyíll pay note.

Moderator Our next question is from the line of Michelle St. James form Daemonís TV.

M. St. James I have a question about the ďThe Music Box.Ē Diana and Peter now know that thereís a piece missing and Neal has the missing piece. Whoís going to crack first and go to the other one?

M. Thomason Now I think youíve done enough of these to know thereís no way I can tell you the answer to that at this time.

M. St. James It was worth a try.

M. Thomason Yes, itís a good effort. But needless to say you know youíll get the answer to that very soon.

M. St. James In regards to the relationship with Neal, is he ever going to give up in terms of trying to make you attracted to him?

M. Thomason No. Absolutely not. His ego is too big. Youíve seen the way women swoon when he walks into a room, because no, no, and itís sport for him. Heís the guy that fakes art and steals and does all of that stuff for sport. Thereís no way heís ever going to give up.

Moderator There are no further questions.

D. Christiansen Ladies and gentlemen, if there are no further questions, that will conclude todayís session. Iíd like to once again thank Marsha for joining us and remind everyone to tune in to a new episode of White Collar tomorrow, August 17th at 9/8 Central on USA Network. Thanks again, and enjoy your week, everyone.

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