Fall may mean colder weather and heavily bundled babes, but it also means the return of your favorite television shows. USA’s White Collar is back again this year with a rather fiery vixen as the latest addition to their cast: Bridget Regan. She’s done the N.Y. circuit of cop shows, had a stint on Broadway, starred in the action drama Legend of the Seeker and is set to star alongside Hollywood legends next year in an upcoming film. We chatted with Regan to get pumped up for this year’s White Collar, premiering tomorrow, October 17th 9/8c on the USA Network.
Playboy.com: So, you’re on the new season of White Collar! What can you tell us about being Neal’s [Matt Bomer] new love interest?
Regan: Well, not to toot my own horn but I feel like they created this character for me to play. She’s just the perfect woman for Neal. She’s a rare book scholar in this museum in New York City and he comes in there looking for help in finding some information and they just hit it off. She’s a little bit nerdy and she’s a sweet librarian character, so I don’t think she’s the typical woman he would date, but it was just a joy to play her because, as it is with White Collar, things aren’t always what they seem. It’s been a lot of fun to develop her throughout the year.
Playboy.com: So you’re going to be in a couple episodes, then?
Regan: I was in nine or 10 episodes. It really felt like the whole season to me. It’s such a great group; I adore that cast. Tim DeKay and Willie Garson each directed an episode; Tiffani [Thiessen] is amazing, as is Matt. That whole cast and the crew is just a dream and I adore New York, so it was just such a pleasure to be there.
Playboy.com: What was your favorite memory while shooting White Collar?
Regan: Well it’s difficult in that I want to tell you everything but I’m not allowed to, but I love shooting in the city. I just think it really shows New Yorkers’ true colors. I love how people are ticked off film crews are on their street and pissed that they can’t ride their bus or bikes. There’s just no romance with it. [laughs] But then there are also the fans who are there standing by and they are just so passionate about the show, supporting everybody. So that was really fun, shooting on the street and experiencing all that. I would tell you my favorite memory but I would ruin it for you so I can’t, I’ve been sworn to secrecy.
Playboy.com: You’re the first person I’ve talked to that has been on Live with Regis and Kelly. What the heck was that like?
Regan: It’s hilarious; watch the first minute again and you will never see two people get in their chairs so fast. I look like I’m a different species than them, I’m so tall. It’s just insane how much taller I am than them. Plus I’m so fair and they’re so tanned and looking city perfect. First of all, they’re absolutely lovely, so sweet and adorable, and I was so happy to be on that show, but it’s hilarious. Because not only am I so very tall, I was also wearing five-inch heels that the stylist had given me to wear, so I just look like an Amazon.
Playboy.com: You’ve done a bunch of Broadway as well. Did you start in theater and move to television or vice versa?
Regan: I fell in love with musical theater as a kid. I was a total musical theater nerd; I saw Rent like 20 times. I was a total nerd and I still am. I listen to the On Broadway channel on Sirius XM and I listen to this guy Seth Rudetsky in my car, and every time my husband goes to turn on my car he’s like “UGH!” and changes the channel because it’s always Broadway musicals. So yes, I’ve always been in love with that. I’d love to get back into that. I got to see a bunch of great shows when I was in New York filming and I’ve got the itch again. But I went to a drama school in North Carolina and it was very focused on theater, particularly classical theater. You know, Shakespeare and Shaw and Chekhov and all that. And then I moved to New York and it just became all about being a working actor. So I did commercials, regional theater and worked my way up to Broadway. Then I did all of the New York shows like Law & Order, The Black Donnellys, and then it’s just been a gradual growth and now I’m in L.A. because I guess that’s what happens. [laughs] And now I just want to be back in New York, but what are you going to do?
Playboy.com: You also did a little stint in New Zealand while you were filming Legend of the Seeker.
Regan: It was gorgeous; I lived there for two seasons of Seeker, and we had 22 episode orders each season so it was like I moved to New Zealand! I found myself a Kiwi and I married him and now I’m very attached to the place; we’re actually going home for all of December to visit family and it’s absolutely gorgeous and so beautiful. The people are incredible and there’s literally sheep running through meadows, it’s so picturesque, and the beaches are insane with no one on them. That’s the thing that it really has over the States. You go to these amazing locations and there’s just nobody there!
Playboy.com: You’ve been doing TV for a while; what’s your favorite genre to work in?
Regan: I really love when it demands physicality. Ever since I did Seeker, it had all of this action, violence and fights, and we got to do a bit of that in White Collar this season and I was remembering how much I enjoyed that. I grew up as a dancer and I love how immediately when there’s something that demands of your body it just requires all of yourself, you have to throw yourself in it completely. But then it’s funny, I did a pilot for ABC that Ryan Reynolds produced this year and it was so light and fun. I loved doing that, I had never really done it before, so I really can’t make up my mind. But the truth is it’s not up to me, I just go where they tell me to go and say what they tell me to say and stand where they tell me to stand! [laughs] So we’ll see what’s next for me, but it’s hard for me to pin it down.
Playboy.com: You also got to play an escort in the Sons of Anarchy season premiere!
Regan: I did! It was a bit of an unfortunate situation with scheduling because I was in New York with White Collar and Sons shoot in L.A., so we had all these conflicts so I didn’t end up getting to complete the arc that I was starting on, which I was totally devastated about because I love that show and the actors are incredible, so I had to let it go, but that was a very fun day on set. That was a very intense room of very masculine men. It’s pretty awesome! I loved it. They actually drive motorcycles to work; they’re very into it. But they are complete professionals and they’re really dedicated to the work and so focused. I had a little exchange with Katey Sagal that at the end they had to cut out because I had to leave the show, but she’s a complete legend; it was awesome that I was able to work with her.
Playboy.com: What upcoming projects are you working on now?
Regan: I’m doing a film back in New York with Keanu Reeves and Willem Dafoe. It’s an awesome action movie where he plays this retired hit man in this world of organized crime and the seedy underbelly in New York, and he gets drawn back in for various reasons, and I am working in this speakeasy burlesque house and it becomes clear that he and I used to have a thing and I hadn’t seen him in years. I’m really excited about it; I just had my fitting last week. I’m getting all these tattoos, a sleeve of them. The look of this character is one that I’ve never done before, rockabilly vintage style. I’m so excited about it and I’m a big fan of his work. It’s a really cool movie and I’m excited.
Playboy.com: What’s your favorite…
Food: I’m going to be really specific with this one: the uni linguine at Son of a Gun restaurant in Los Angeles, it’s insane.
Drink: Wine wine wine wine or champagne.
Most embarrassing moment: I remember going to a friend’s wedding and we were having some fun and ended up sleeping in a friend’s room. I was actually being a good girl and behaving myself, but the next morning I had to walk back to my hotel room in my dress holding my heels, and as I’m walking through the courtyard the entire wedding party and their family and everyone from the entire wedding is hanging out and I just look like I’m having the worst walk of shame. I was like, “No, you don’t understand! It just looks bad!”
Worst pickup line: I used to work, when I first moved to New York, at a bar called the Voodoo Lounge, and I was probably the only white girl in the entire bar. This guy came up to me one night and said, “Girl, you look like a white Beyoncé.” Then he proceeded to come in every weekend and I was just called White Beyoncé, that was my name, and then other regulars started calling me it and I was like, “I will take that, that is a compliment and I will take it.”
First memory of Playboy: I was in college and I remember going into a friend’s dorm room and he had on his coffee table the issue with Carmen Electra and being like, “Aww damn, girl!” That was impressive, that was an impressive spread. That was a pretty ingraining memory.