Exceptional actor, humor and intelligence were just a few of the words used by Savannah College of Art and Design performing arts professor Andra Reeve-Rabb to describe actor Matt Bomer before he was presented with the 2014 Savannah Film Festival's Spotlight Award on Sunday night.
"... Matt's presence makes a lasting impression... Matt is one of those rare performers...," said Reeve-Rabb. "Matt is not only a gifted artist, but an equally passionate human being."
Calling the award an incredible honor, Bomer is a first-time guest of the film festival, but no stranger to the city. He's been in Savannah and Tybee Island for weeks reprising his role alongside Channing Tatum as a stripper in "Magic Mike XXL," the sequel to Steven Soderbergh's 2012 box office hit "Magic Mike." The film picks up three years after the first, following Magic Mike (Tatum) and the rest of his crew on a road trip, which includes stops in Jacksonville and Savannah.
"I love this city so much and it's been so wonderful to us as we filmed our stripper odyssey here, although I have to say, it's been very torturous to be around all this incredible cooking and open container policy," Bomer said upon accepting the award. "I'm sure as hell way too old for the newcomer award and I certainly haven't done enough for the lifetime achievement award, but this is sure as hell a nice way to ease into the middle age actor award."
View more photos of Boomer and other guests during Day 2 of the Film Fest.
Along with his numerous television roles, Bomer was honored for his work in the HBO original film, "The Normal Heart," which was screened at the film festival Sunday afternoon. The film is an adaptation of Larry Kramer's Tony Award-winning play of the same name. Bomer said he first read the play as a teenager and instantly felt a connection.
The film tells the story of the early years of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City during the early 1980s and follows writer and gay activist Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) as he and other activists fight to expose the truth about the AIDS epidemic. Bomer portrays Felix Turner, a reporter and Weeks' companion.
"When I heard they were making a film, I reached out, probably the only time I've reached out to my representation ... I said, 'I don't care what the role is, I just have to be involved in some way,'" Bomer said. "And I got the part I wanted. I guess it was an exercise in karma because I just wanted to do anything."
Bomer lost 40 pounds to more convincingly play Turner, who becomes HIV positive, but Bomer said it was the character's heart and spirit that drove him to the role.
"I loved his (Turner's) relationship with Ned and how they brought out things in each other that they never would have gotten to experience if it weren't for each other," Bomer said of his on screen relationship with Ruffalo's character.
"And just the journey of their relationship and the fact that it was all about love and real, unconditional love that we all want to experience in life. That got to shine through the story."
Next up, Bomer will be portraying legendary actor Montgomery Clift in the biopic, "Monty Clift." And in 2016, he will play opposite Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in the action drama "The Nice Guys."