In part one of “Hilarie Burton Discusses Her Latest Role on USA’s White Collar,” Burton talked about her character Sara Ellis in great detail, as well as what she thinks of her leading man, Matt Bomer.
In part two, Burton continues her love-fest for her co-workers, whether or not she has plans to return to One Tree Hill, and advice for those wanting trying to make it as an actor in New York.
Being the new kid on set can be hard, but Burton said during the call that her female cast-mates (Tiffani Thiessen, Marsha Thomason, and Gloria Votsis) welcomed her with open arms.
“The females on the show are the warmest most graceful inclusive women. Anytime you’re the new kid walking into a situation you have no idea what’s going to happen once you get there, and Tiffani and Marsha, and Gloria, they were so kind and so warm, so I might be a little bit biased. I think that they can’t do anything wrong. They’re incredible,” she said.
“Tiffani and I both have babies, and when I met her and she was like ‘Let’s have play dates.’ And our kids met and, and she brings her husband to work and she’s so proud of what she has accomplished at home. It’s not about what she’s accomplished at work; it’s about what she’s created in her private life.”
Burton said that she enjoys working with family-oriented people, because they are helping her balance out her work life and her home life. She feels that her fellow cast-mates have “really figured out how to exist in this industry wholesomely.” She also discussed the leadership that is shown by Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay on the set of White Collar, and how the tone they set affects everyone else.
“They have an energy that’s infectious. One of them is in every single scene of the day, and so one of them is representing the show at all times. And the crew’s momentum, and the rest of the cast’s momentum and mood is, is largely influenced by the leaders on set. And Matt and Tim and such positive leaders and it doesn’t matter how tired they are, Tim will work all week long, not get off work ‘til very, very late, hop on a plane and then go coach his son’s little league games. And then fly back on Sunday and go right back to work not having slept. And I think everyone really respects that and it sets a good tone and it makes work really fun and it makes everybody want to work hard for each other. When you see someone else working that hard, it makes you want to live up to that,” she said.
During the call Burton was asked about the difference between portraying Sara Ellis on White Collar and playing her well-known character Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill.
“[Sara’s] so different. I think I’m much more self-conscious playing Sara because she’s so far removed from Hilarie Burton. I could go to the creator of One Tree Hill and tell him stories from my high school experience and he would integrate those into the story line and so I always felt very connected to that character. This character has a history that is so different from mine and a frigidness that is so far— I mean —I’m a little bit Vaudeville and, and Sara Ellis is very high end Broadway. And so having to class it up is very fun for me, and I think it’s helping me become an adult,” Burton said.
Even though Burton is enjoying her time playing Sara Ellis, a question still remained for fans of One Tree Hill; Would she consider reprising her role of Peyton Sawyer? Burton explained her reasoning as to why she will not be returning to One Tree Hill.
“I have a fondness for that period in my life. And I love all the people there. Unfortunately, it gets to a point where your personal life doesn’t necessarily allow a whole lot of room anymore for just jumping on a plane and going wherever. While that’s a place that I love, and a point in my life that I love, I don’t think that it’s going to work out. I still communicate with everybody back there, and I love them as a whole. But, no I don’t think it’s going to work out. I’m sorry,” she said.
“I am going through a growing phase in my life. I went through one when I first went to North Carolina. I went through one a couple years ago before my run on One Tree Hill ended, and I’m going through one now, where I’m starting to look at what do I want in the next five years of my life. I think I’m really, really happy with my personal life; everything there is sewn up, and I’m very happy in that. So now, I’ve got a job that works perfect with my personal life, it’s in a place that I love with people I really, really like. I’m going to ride this train for as long as I can.”
Towards the end of the call, Burton talked about her decision to move to New York versus going to college that she had a scholarship to. She also gave some helpful advice for those who are pursuing a career in acting in New York.
“For actors, I would say that you have to go where the work is. I had a really big scholarship to go to a school in Virginia when I graduated high school. Everyone thought I was crazy for not taking it and going to New York. I knew what I really wanted out of my life wasn’t going to happen where I had that scholarship. And I probably would have had an awesome career in something else, and been very happy. But, acting is what I wanted to do. I can never remember wanting to do something else. So, you have to go where the work is, you have to meet like-minded people, and you have to create your own opportunities,” she explained.
“I would say the best piece of advice is to find other people who are at your same level, but are trying to make it as well. So if you’re an actor, find a new filmmaker. You just scour the colleges, whether it’s Columbia Film School, or NY, find the photographers that need people to sit for them, find the musicians that need people in their music video. Go to screenings for short films. I think having a curious disposition and also having he confidence to be an explorer will be things that will service you when you’re in a city as big as Manhattan, because the more you dig the more treasures you’ll find. And those treasures are other people that will help you get what you want.”
Hilarie Burton can be seen in White Collar, Tuesday nights at 10 p.m./ 9 Central on USA.