updated 05/20/2014 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/20/2014 AT 12:40 PM ET
Matt Bomer is open to everything fatherhood brings – the joys, the difficulties and everything in between.
“I love it,” the actor told PEOPLE Monday at the premiere of HBO’s The Normal Heart in Los Angeles. “It’s the most profound gift and the most daunting challenge at times.”
Bomer, 36, has three sons with his publicist husband, Simon Halls. The eldest turns 9 this weekend, and they also have 6-year-old twins. Bomer recognizes the huge responsibility that comes with parenting, and says it’s a balancing act.
“I just want to be hopefully somebody who helps shape these souls without changing how they came into the world,” he says. “To just give them the structure they need to thrive in the world but at the same time let their own personalities shine through. Some days that’s easier than others.”
Known for his work on the USA drama White Collar and in films like Magic Mike, Bomer is winning early raves for his role as Felix Turner in The Normal Heart, based on Larry Kramer’s Tony-winning play about the AIDS crisis.
He lost more than 35 lbs. for the movie. And he does want his children to see it – eventually.
“They’re really young. So, not anytime soon,” he says. “It’s definitely a film I want them to see at a different point for a lot of reasons. This project is bigger than me. It’s something I want to show them to understand a piece of my history. And who they owe a lot of thanks to.”