‘White Collar’ Actor Recalls Brief Time As Brett Ratner’s Superman

Matthew Bomer is currently impressing audiences as conman-turned-FBI agent Neal Caffery in the “White Collar” television series, but there was a time not too long ago when he was primed to bring a far more familiar character to the big screen as the star of what eventually became “Superman Returns.”

Before Bryan Singer took over “Superman Returns,” Brett Ratner had been tagged as the project’s director and cast Bomer as Kal-El. Ratner left the project in 2003, and the role of Superman was re-cast and given to Brandon Routh when Singer was named the new director. So, when Bomer dropped by MTV HQ to discuss “White Collar,” we had to ask him what it was like to be Superman — even for just a little while.

“I actually screen-tested for Superman, and there was a time when Brett Ratner and I were going to work together on it,” Bomer told MTV News. “That particular incarnation of that franchise sort of fell apart, and then it became a whole different beast.”

“I was in full tights,” he laughed when asked how much of the costume he had donned for his screen test. “I was rocking the tights, the speedo, all of it.”

“It was really surreal,” he added. “As a kid, you grow up idolizing superheroes, and to be in that garb was really fun and surreal and humbling. … It was a really great experience, and one that I’m really thankful for. I got to live out a childhood fantasy, if only for the period of the screen test.”

Bomer, who earned extra comics cred for dropping by Splash Page HQ post-interview to talk comics, also shared some of his thoughts about the superhero genre as a whole.

“I think superheroes are really fun roles,” he said. “I think they’re something we’ll always need as a society, because they show us what we could be and that hopefully, no matter how scary and bad things get, there’s always somebody who can help us — or that humanity really wins out in the end.”

“Usually they have a great duality to the character,” he added. “There’s this superhero aspect and their alter ego is usually somebody completely different.”

Oh, and by the way, anyone wondering about Matt Bomer’s take on Superman can see him in costume — the actual “Superman Returns” costume — in a Japanese ad for the Toyota Prius. Seriously.

Check it out:

A new episode of “White Collar” airs tonight, January 26.

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