Willie Garson stars as the paranoid and amusing character Mozzie on the USA Network hit series White Collar. He took part of a conference call to talk about White Collar season 2, and the upcoming flashback episode titled “Forging Bonds.” I wanted to know how difficult it was not to reveal that Mozzie was alive, and what Garson thought of the flashback.
Jessica Rae: So you couldn’t reveal Mozzie’s state during the hiatus. Are you good at keeping secrets or was it really hard to never tell anybody what’s going on?
Willie Garson: Well this one was really hard. Also, we got a little ridiculous because obviously they were thousands of pictures on the Internet of me shooting scenes after it had been shot. So it got a little silly after a while. Also, the reality is that there’s not many of us on the show so it probably was not going to happen that they were going to get rid of the character of Mozzie.
So, in general, when I’m shooting I’m kind of used to it from other jobs. Obviously, Sex and The City had very strong gag orders as to what we could say and not say. So I’m used to that. You play a little kind of cheeky game with the audience about what they know. It’s very hard now with the Internet. I mean everyone knows everything all the time. So it’s very hard to get away with. So if people were really paying attention they would have known that obviously I survived.
Jessica Rae: Yes, and we’re glad you did.
Willie Garson: Thank you. I’m glad too.
Jessica Rae: Now we know the timeframe for how long Mozzie and Neal have known each other, it goes back eight years. Had you thought you might have gone back even farther?
Willie Garson: I actually did, but then I thought it out, logically, I just think everything’s farther because of my advanced age. I’m in my mid-70s now, so I … assume that I would have known Matt for a long time, but the reality is that Matt is a young man. So, eight years is about right. That puts Matt at about 24 or so, which is when he wanted to step up.
On what TV shows he likes and would love to guest on:
Well it’s ending now but I love Friday Night Lights, but I think that ship has sailed for me. I would love to do Modern Family. I have a lot of friends on the show. And I’d love to do so many other USA shows. My dear friends show just got picked up yesterday by USA called Necessary Roughness. I’d love to see some kind cross over with Burn Notice. We’re very close to the guys on Psych. And I’d certainly love to go out to the Hamptons with Mark. So, who knows? I’m a big fan of television. So, I like stories. I love characters. And we’re in a good place now. There’s a lot of good shows coming up.
I’m actually an internationally ranked badminton champion and—no, I’m not. We haven’t found Mozzie’s secret talent yet because Mozzie is so good at everything that he does.
Love interests for Mozzie?
I’m talking out of school, but I’d love to see Judy Greer step up. I think she would be great for Mozzie. In the world of absolute hotness, I would love to see Jennifer Grey as a love interest for Mozzie, but I’m still working on that one.
Directing White Collar?
And I also am starting to explore directing, maybe in the future in the world of White Collar. So that is something that is talked about all the time and because I have a personal investment in White Collar I think it would be a good place for me to get my feet wet directing. So it’s something we’re talking about right now. As we speak it is being discussed.
Will Mozzie go Legit?
I think Mozzie is more interested in turning the FBI evil. He’s planning to go on the inside and make them turn to the dark side. I think that would be more up Mozzie’s alley.
White Collar Spoilers?
Mozzie’s going to have a sex change. It might not be an accurate spoiler, but—no, the biggest spoiler that I want to spill is my son Nathen on this Tuesday’s episode.
More about Willie Garson’s son on White Collar:
Whose idea was it? It was Willie Garson’s idea. It actually worked out just right. There was just a little bit missing in a scene to kind of point out with level of criminal Mozzie was. And I had an idea and I wrote it down and I sent it to Jeff Eastin and he said, that’s awesome and let’s have Nathen— I wanted to have Nathan on the show. I just thought it would be great for him discipline wise and to understand what dad does.
As far as (his) aspirations, I don’t know. It’s still a police officer because they carry guns; baseball player because they make a lot of money. Now I just pointed out to him that baseball players make a lot more money than actors. So it might tip the scale towards baseball player.
Is Willie Garson leaving White Collar? It absolutely does not sound like it from the way he walks, or the way the show is going. So, don’t worry! In the meantime, get ready for the next episode of White Collar and look out for Garson’s son, Nathen!
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