Tiffani Thiessen ('White Collar')
'Burglars and Baby Talk!'
Americaís favorite teen-throb sweetheart, Tiffani Thiessen, is reentering TV Land with her role as Elizabeth Burke on the hit USA Network series, 'White Collar.'
The smart and agile crime-drama is arguably one of the best new series to hit television this year. The chemistry between Thiessenís onscreen by-the-book FBI agent husband, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and the irresistibly charming con artist Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) makes for the perfect odd-couple pairing.
The series, set in Manhattan, intrigues viewers with itís relevance to the recent white collar crimes of Wall Street but instead of taking the predictable route, White Collar smartly takes the plot lines in a different direction. From rare art forgery to top secret Canadian currency printing tactics, White Collarís modern cinematography style and humorous script elements revitalize the age-old cop-drama pretense.
Exclusive Magazine had the recent opportunity to speak with Tiffani Thiessen about the exciting premier of White Collar, the onscreen chemistry with her costars and how it feels to be back in front of the cameras.
Thanks for joining us today! Iím sure Iím the millionth person to tell you this, but it never gets old. I want to say congratulations on your pregnancy! "Thank you so much. We are absolutely thrilled."
Now, as a first-time mother, how do you think that it will play out balancing your roles and responsibilities of motherhood and your part on ĎWhite Collarí? "You know, thatís a very good question in the sense that I really donít know being that I am a first-time mom, so itíll be a very different kind of thing for me being that Iíll be working and being a mother at the same time. There are millions of people who do it. My mom did it herself, so I know I can handle it, but itíll be a very new experience, so itís hard to say what is going to be like. Itíll be all brand new for me."
So what made you want to be a part of ĎWhite Collarí? "Ever since I read the script, which has been a little over a year ago now, I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with the show. And more and more, when the cast was brought together, the more excitement I had for the show and wanting to be a part of it. This is really the first time I feel like in my whole entire career, which has been over 25, 26 years, of doing this, that I finally feel like Iím kind of playing a role a little closer to home for me, which is kind of exciting."
The onscreen relationship between you and Timís character, Peter, seems to be loving, but also a bit strained by his professional commitments. Now, with the charming and charismatic Neal Caffrey entering the picture, how do you think this partnership will affect Elizabeth and Peterís marriage as the show develops? "I donít know if I would actually use the word strained. I think in every marriage thereís always the challenge of making time and making priorities in their relationship when people have careers, and what you will start to see more and more is my career, being that it takes up a lot of my time as well. I think itís going to give a lot of, not so much looking into Peterís career and how it affects our marriage. Thereís also my side of it as well."
"I think she is very understanding to that. Sheís been living with it for so long and knows what he does for a living, and she knows what she married. I donít think thereís a strain to it. I think thereís a challenge. I think probably the challenge is the word I could use for that. I think what Neal brings into it is that I think my husband on the show is very kind of black and white in the way he thinks, and I think Neal is definitely much more colorful, and I think he will definitely teach my husband a little more of the colorful side of being romantic and all those things that you do need in a marriage as well."
I know you did a short film a couple years ago that you directed, and I wanted to know is that something you still want to be doing? Is there a chance maybe you could direct an episode of White Collar? "I do. Youíre so sweet. Yes, they definitely know directing is something thatís in my thinking of wanting to do more and more, and it all really just depends on time and all that. I wanted to make sure that when we started the show my focus was on my character and what Iím doing as an actress. Now with my new role coming as a mother, itís going to be a little more challenging, but itís definitely something I want to do more of, so yes."
Youíve been in the business since you were very young. If you werenít in the entertainment business, what else would you want to be doing? "Itís so funny. Last year when we did the pilot, we really didnít know what Elizabethís character was going to do for a living. They had some ideas, and they kind of changed it, and then I had come to Jeff Eastin, our creator of the show and said, you know, itís funny. I think it could work, but itís something Iíve always wanted to do if I wasnít an actor. Iíd always wanted to be an event planner, and I think it could work really well for Elizabethís character being that sheís in New York City. We could really show the city in a different light, and they loved it. I have to say funny enough, that was my idea, and thatís exactly what I would do if I wasnít an actor."
Did you ever think that your event planning skills would be useful to the FBI, and when will they bring you in as an official paid consultant? "I know, really. I donít know. Thatís a good question. That could actually be kind of funny. No, it was actually when we shot that episode, it was an episode we shot a little later, and they really enjoyed the episode so much, they pulled it up and made it a little closer to the beginning of the show, which is great. It was really fun to do, and it was really fun to work more with Matt and the guys in general, which was great. Again, like I had mentioned, youíll see certain episodes that I might be a little heavier in, but the event planning thing is exciting because, like I said, Iíve always wanted to do that on the side or if I ever wanted to give up acting, thatís what I wanted to do. Itís kind of fun to live out a little bit of a dream of mine on my actual job now."
Well, weíve seen on the show that Neal has escaped from prison for love. Whatís the most romantic, and cheesiest thing a guyís ever done for you? "Oh, gosh. Well, my husband himself is definitely romantic. I mean, he is romantic almost every day whether itís leaving me cute little notes somewhere throughout the house or the way he proposed to just the day we got married. He was amazing and romantic in everything he did, so Iím blessed to have a husband like that. The cheesiest, God, that would be really hard. I wouldnít want to out anybody because I feel like anybody who wants to put themselves and their heart out there is a wonderful thing, and we shouldnít put them down for it, right?"
So, what is it like to work on such a male-dominated cast? "Itís great, actually. Itís not my first time, so I feel like Iím definitely, I have the experience. With past shows, I did a show called Fastlane that was literally me and two guys. Itís funny. I donít know why, but I tend to gravitate to shows that have a lot of male co-stars. I grew up with two brothers, so I guess itís just normal for me to be around guys. Itís fun. Itís where I feel comfortable, I have to say."
What kind of pressures do you think that women or you, yourself, still face as far as looks and beauty pressures and things like that? "Youíre right. Itís all there. It will never go away. I donít think our business and the entertainment business in general will ever just be okay with how people are. I think weíre in a business that critiques everything we do, and you kind of just take it with a grain of salt. I look at my grandmother, and I think sheís aged beautifully, so I hope that I could be a smidgen of how sheís aged."
"Thereís nothing you can do. All you can do is take of yourself and do the things that make you feel good and make you healthy and age appropriately, but thereís always going to be people out there are going to say something, and thereís nothing you can do about it. Like I said, you have to take it with a grain of salt."
So, what would you say to those that havenít seen 'White Collar' yet to convince them to watch? "Oh gosh, well, besides having really cute guys on the show, itís definitely the type of TV and movies that I like to see. Iím a huge fan of The Thomas Crown Affair and those kinds of feels of movies and shows and 48 Hours, which is so interesting, Catch Me If You Can, things like that. If people are really into those kinds of movies and those kind of story-telling, they have to watch this show. It is so absolutely entertaining. The characters are so rich and so fun to watch and follow."
"As well as you see New York City in a completely different way. Itís shot in a beautiful way. Itís interesting, a lot of shows that are shot in New York City can be a little more dark and gray, and this show really, I think, kind of captures New York City in a really beautiful light, and itís nice."
For more information on the new hit show ĎWhite Collarí, be sure to catch the show on USA Network, Fridays at 10 PM!
Read Exclusive Magazineís article with ĎWhite Collarís Willie Garson (Mozzie) here!
Interviewed by: Erin M. Stranyak
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