Interview with Treat Williams of "White Collar" on USA - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Treat Williams and Ben Bomer on "White Collar"

Interview with Treat Williams of "White Collar" on USA Network 1/8/13

This was a tough call for me. I love Treat Williams. He's one of my favorite actors. However, I didn't know what to ask him. And then, because I wasn't quite awake yet on the call, I asked about "season premiere" when I really meant to say "mid-season premiere", and it kind of confused him, so his answer was a little off. And then I felt like I an idiot! Oh, well. Still, it was great to chat with him and I continue to worship him :) He does a great job on this show, as he does every show, and movie.

Moderator: Ali Sands
January 18, 2013
10:33 am CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Treat Williams Press Call.

During the presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question-and-answer session. At that time if you have a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator please press star 0.

As a reminder this conference is being recorded Friday, January 18, 2013. I'd now like to turn the conference over to Ali Sands. Please go ahead ma'am.

Ali Sands: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Treat Williams call. I just wanted to remind you White Collar premieres Tuesday, January 22, at 10:00, 9:00 Central on USA Network.

And now I will turn it over to (Mickey) to field the questions.

Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen if you would like to register for a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request.

If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration please press the 1 followed by the 3. If you're using a speakerphone please lift your handset before entering your request. One moment please for the first question.

And our first question comes from the line of (Patti Gripple). Please go ahead.

Pattye Grippo: Hi. Thanks for talking with us today.

Treat Williams: Hi (Patti).

Pattye Grippo: Hi. Let me ask you in what ways would you say you are most like and least like your character from the show?

Treat Williams: Well before I answer that first question Iím going to indulge myself and just tell everybody thank you so much for coming on.

And if I sound a little phlegmy I just came down with the flu. And I think - I feel like I was - a small gremlin got into my room last night and (dinged) me with a baseball bat. But I'm very happy to be here and thrilled that I can talk about the show.

In answer to your question, you know, I watched the episode last night again and I think that, you know, one of the things that's very different between he and I is that he is troubled in the sense that he's spending time with this kid who is this love of his life though he was 5-years-old and was torn away from him by circumstances that he started.

But nonetheless - and I can see. It was interesting. I said, "This guy's in a lot of pain. This guy's having to keep it a secret that this is his long-lost son. But on the other hand he gets to be with him."

But I think that's the greatest difference between us, is that not too much bothers me.

Pattye Grippo: Right. And what keeps challenging you about playing this character?

Treat Williams: Eight-page monologues explaining my entire history with him. There's a lot of long walks on country roads in Vermont let me tell you.

Pattye Grippo: Geez.

Treat Williams: And yes it was - that was challenging. But I think that was about it. I mean, I - having played Prince of the City it to me was like coming full circle.

You know, you have this cop who had been - done a bad thing and wanted to find his way home and realized he couldn't. He couldn't get out. Once you're in you can't get out.

And that really was - parallels Prince of the City to a great degree. And I was 30 when I shot that. So it's been - it was really kind of lovely to revisit that kind of character again 30 years later.

Pattye Grippo: Right, right. Well thank you very much for talking with me today.

Treat Williams: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with the TV MegaSote. Please go ahead with your question.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. It's an honor to speak to you today.

Treat Williams: Oh thank you so much. It's - back at you.

Suzanne Lanoue: Thank you. And I'm sorry you're sick and I hope you feel better soon.

Treat Williams: That's fine. I'll be fine.

Suzanne Lanoue: Oh that's good. I was wondering will we see you on more than just the season opener and if you could tell us how many episodes.

Treat Williams: You will see me on more than the season opener. I cannot remember how many I was on. But I signed on for six. And I honestly don't remember how many have been shown and I think there are at least two more before the season ends -- pretty sure.

Suzanne Lanoue: Okay great. Thank you very much.

Treat Williams: You're very welcome.

Operator: And our next question is from (Karen Robbins) with BroadwayWorld. Please go ahead.

Karen Robbins: Hi Treat. How are you?

Treat Williams: Hi (Karen). How are you?

Karen Robbins: I'm good thanks. I just feel I have to tell you my daughter is a theater major at Franklin & Marshall College...

Treat Williams: Oh that is so cool.

Karen Robbins: Yes, yes...

Treat Williams: Has she worked in the Green Room?

Karen Robbins: I'm sorry?

Treat Williams: Has she worked in the Green Room Theatre?

Karen Robbins: Yes, yes, yes.

Treat Williams: Oh okay. All my acting training was in that (town). That's so cool.

Karen Robbins: Yes, yes. So you are an inspiration to her. But...

Treat Williams: Oh thank you.

Karen Robbins: ...sorry to go off on a personal note.

Treat Williams: No please, please. That makes it much more fun. Thank you.

Karen Robbins: I was wondering as you filmed each episode were you aware of what was in store for your character's story line?

Treat Williams: No I was not. And I finally - it was frustrating at first and I finally after reading the first deal I said, "Look these guys are such good writers I'm just going to go with the flow on this."

And, you know, I was as excited as anybody to get the next script and find out. I didn't even know until two or three episodes in whether I was going to end up being villainous or a good guy or, you know.

So it was fun. It was fun to kind of just get a script and go, "Oh okay. This is where we're going this week."

So that was actually - you know, once I let go of trying to control it, you know, I - actors really want to know what their background is and where they're heading and what the character's going to do. And I finally just said, "I'm just going to let Jeff write these wonderful scripts and launch as soon as I get them."

Karen Robbins: And so many of your fans know you from your TV background. But you also have a strong background in musical theater. And I was wondering if you have any plans to ever come to Broadway.

Treat Williams: Very much so. I've actually sort of started the process. I moved back East, living in Vermont now. And this summer I'm going to be doing the Lion in Winter with the (Recher Theatre) Group. So I'm already sort of starting the process of working my way back into theater.

You know, what I did over without and - we were out in Park City, Utah. After four years when the show ended we just wanted to continue our kids. They were right in the midst of grade school, middle school. And my daughter was, you know, in Kindergarten.

We just thought it was a good idea to stay and we liked it there. And, you know, our kids were really settled in school.

But now that we're back I'm much more - I've been talking to people and going back and forth in New York starting to think about what I want to do. And this is the first - the first play I will do is Lion in Winter. So I'm very excited about that.

Karen Robbins: Oh that's great -- looking forward to it.

Treat Williams: Thanks.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of (Frenier Talent) with Celebrity Dirty Laundry. Please go ahead.

Frenier Talent: Hi thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I just...

Treat Williams: Thank you.

Frenier Talent: ...wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of yours. I've watched Hair about 30 times and I always cry...

Treat Williams: I - you know, I want you to know that last night when I saw this list I went directly to the washing machine and cleaned all my clothes because I saw Celebrity Laundry and I didn't know where we were going with that, so.

Frenier Talent: What would you still like to achieve in your career?

Treat Williams: That's a very good question. You know, somebody asked me last year in an interview if I would ever retire. And I said, "You know, I would really like to retire eventually from working for money."

And I think that the goal is to really do those things that excite you and you're passionate about. And, you know, there's a period in time when your kids are in school and, you know, the bills need to be paid.

But I'd like to get to the point where - and then I'm - we're heading much more and more in that direction where the work I do is the work I do because out of a great passion for it. And that's where it seems to be heading with this play in the summer.

Frenier Talent: Thank you very much.

Treat Williams: You're very welcome.

Operator: Our next question is coming from the line of Sammy Torino with TV Grapevine. Please go ahead.

Sammy Torino: Hi. Good morning. How are you feeling?

Treat Williams: Good morning.

Sammy Torino: I hope you're feeling better.

Treat Williams: Oh this is helping.

Sammy Torino: Oh I'm glad. So what initially drew you to the role of Sam Phelps?

Treat Williams: When I saw the show I loved it. I thought the show had such a beautiful look. And being a New Yorker for 33 years, you know, there's a quality that Jeff Eastin seems to love Woody Allen - love New York like Woody Allen does. It's just - there's so much of the city as a character.

But I also - you know, those - there - it was a variety of things. Tim Dekay and I are old friends. Tim starred with me on Everwood the first season. I thought Matt was astonishingly good in the show. I loved, you know, the quality of the work in it.

And I don't think it's too often you get to play a character who is mysterious. And no one seems to know who he is or what's his next move. And that's always fun too. He's not just the dad. He's - we don't even know if he's the dad which is fun.

So I think it's mostly the mystery and the quality of the show. And I'm - I haven't played a cop in a long time since Prince of the City. And I thought that would be a lot of fun to kind of come full circle.

Sammy Torino: That's incredible. The other question for you is what's it like having Matt play your son.

Treat Williams: Easy. I mean, I adore him. He has - he's a lot of fun on set. He takes the work very seriously and himself not so seriously.

He is (honorable) and humble and funny and a lot of the attributes that my son has. And I would be proud if he were my son. I just - it's just one of those things where he just - it was very, very easy. You know, I just adore him. I can't speak enough about him.

And whatever success he gets during the show and afterwards he deserves whole-heartedly. I don't know an actor who works as hard as Matt does.

Sammy Torino: That's incredible. Well thank you so much and continue to get better.

Treat Williams: Thank you so much. Thank you.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register for a question you may press the 1, 4. And there appears to be no questions at this time.

And it looks like we do have a question that just appeared. It's coming from the line of Karen Moul with SciFi Vision. Please go ahead.

Karen Moul: Hi. Thanks so much for being with us today. I got...

Treat Williams: Hi Karen.

Karen Moul: ...the same little voice thing going on. So...

Treat Williams: Oh good. Well we can share in our misery.

Karen Moul: Yes. We both sound like Brenda Vaccaro.

Treat Williams: Yes and I look more like her...

Karen Moul: (You might). You're one of the busiest and hardest-working actors around. You've been working really consistently since the '80s. And I know you've been working a lot in between White Collar.

What drives you so much to - you know, at this point in your career you probably could, you know, work a bit less and do other things.

Treat Williams: Well, you know, I don't work as much as it seems. I mean, even if I'm on a bunch of stuff - like this year I'm on, you know, Hawaii Five-0 and I'm on Chicago Fire and I did four movies.

But as I get older the parts, you know, are less and less dense. So I mean dense in terms of time. So I might do four days here and, you know, six days there. And I get bored, you know.

And so I would assume I average about 15 days a month. You know, half of my time is off still even though it looks like I'm doing a lot.

So most Americans work all year long and get two weeks' vacation. So I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones. But it may seem I'm doing more than I'm doing actually.

Karen Moul: You've got a lot of stuff coming out in 2013, a couple...

Treat Williams: I know -- crazy.

Karen Moul: ...fine movies. You did something with the Asylum. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have coming out?

Treat Williams: Yes let's see. I did one with Asylum that was sort of a - called a (gorilla) version of a Steven Spielberg film (unintelligible) dinosaurs coming to life and attacking Los Angeles which was really fun and kind of silly.

And I did a film with Bruno Baretto called the Art of Losing which is about an American (unintelligible) and her fight with (unintelligible).

I did a film called Barefoot. And that was with Scott Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood, a comedy which should be out this summer.

Let's see. And then of course I just mentioned I'm on those other two series. So that's plenty. That's what I can remember.

Karen Moul: Well it does - it seems like you're everywhere. So keep it up. We love seeing you.

Treat Williams: Oh thanks. It's very enjoyable. It's been a lot of fun -- nice people.

Operator: There appears to be no further questions at this time. Ms. Sands I'll go ahead and turn the call back to you.

Ali Sands: Okay thank you all so much for joining. And Treat thank you so much for taking the time.

Treat Williams: Thank you every one. Thank you (Lisa). It was fun.

Ali Sands: Okay (perfect).

Treat Williams: Bye.

Ali Sands: Bye.

Operator: And ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.

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