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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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
We just thought it was a good idea to stay and we liked it
there. And, you know, our kids were really settled in
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
And I did a film with Bruno Baretto called the Art of Losing
which is about an American (unintelligible) and her fight
I did a film called Barefoot. And that was with Scott
Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood, a comedy which should be out
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
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
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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