By ROB OWEN
PASADENA, Calif. -- Matt Bomer has seen a lot of his Carnegie Mellon University classmate Joe Manganiello this year. And we're not just talking frequency with Manganiello's guest-starring role on Bomer's USA Network series "White Collar" early this year and the pair's co-starring role in the big-screen movie "Magic Mike."
In "Magic Mike," Manganiello and Bomer play strippers, wearing minimal wardrobes in many scenes, so they've seen a lot of each other.
Other than skimpy wardrobes, Bomer said it felt mostly familiar to act together. (Both men graduated from CMU in 2000.)
"It's different because there's a camera crew there and we're on set and we're getting paid as opposed to paying a vast amount of money," Bomer said in a January interview, "but at the same time it's me and Joe playing characters and doing a scene together. So it's different and the same."
In "Magic Mike," Bomer plays Ken, a character he describes as a modern-day Southern hippie with very loose morals.
"He wants to break out of the regional, commercial market and start booking national spots," Bomer said. "He's also one of the characters who introduce The Kid, played by Alex Pettyfer, to this Dionysian, hedonistic world of what it is to be an exotic dancer."
Despite the subject matter, Bomer said he didn't hesitate to sign on for a role in "Magic Mike" because it was directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Ocean's Eleven," ''Traffic," ''Erin Brockovich").
"He's a director I've always wanted to work with and one of only two or three directors I would play a stripper for," Bomer said. "Part of my navigational device as an actor is to ask: 'Does something terrify me?' And I always think it's a good sign if something does."
In addition to "Magic Mike," Bomer's "White Collar" returns with new episodes at 9 p.m. Tuesday on USA Network. Bomer said he continues to enjoy the role even though it requires a long commute -- his partner and children live in Los Angeles, and the show films in New York.
"It's a classic case of an actor who always wanted a TV series in New York, then moves to L.A. and gets a TV series in New York," Bomer said. "Commuting is definitely not a dream situation, but it's actually conducive to us being able to do really good work, because when we're in New York, it's really focused and it's all about the show. We get to go home on weekends and visit our families, and then it's back to work again. ... It's not ideal, but I really can't complain because we get to shoot in New York City, which is one of my favorite places in the world."
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