At one of his first auditions, Leonard Nimoy did something bizarre: He told the truth.
Asked if he knew how to ride a horse, Nimoy said no. Somehow, he got the job anyway, maybe because he was the only guy who didn't lie about it.
One actor, Richard Tyson, recalled being asked if he could ride. "I said, 'I'm from Alabama?'" He is, but that doesn't make him a cowboy, he later told reporters. "My daddy's a lawyer."
This actor-ly trait is one of the things that has made "Suits" so interesting for Patrick J. Adams: He plays a character who spent three seasons doing what actors do naturally -- lying about his qualifications and then scrambling to keep up. Now the show is starting its fourth season (Wednesday, June 11) and is making a key change. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
For three “Suits” seasons, Mike Ross kept barely slipping
by. At an upscale law firm, he convinced people that he’s a Harvard Law School
Now, finally, that’s been set aside; the fourth season has
Mike working for a finance firm and dealing with his old bosses. “It’s
re-energizing for me … like a new job,” said Patrick J. Adams, who plays him.
Still, those first seasons were fun, with an exaggerated
version of anyone who has felt underqualified. “I think that’s why people
connect to Mike,” Adams said. And for actors, it all seemed realistic.
The notion during auditions is to say you can do anything.
Sure, you can ride a horse … swim … walk on stilts; then you try to learn
before filming begins. And Adams once tried that out, big-time.
There he was, a Canadian kid who studied theater at the
University of Southern California. Summers in Los Angeles were “sort of
soul-crushing,” he says, but he heard about dealing blackjack in the Yukon.
“I knew they wouldn’t hire me if I said I didn’t have any
experience,” Adams said. “I stayed up all night studying. Then I said I’d had
all this experience and had worked on cruise ships and everything.”
He got the job and had a fine summer; still, he understands
the fidgety feeling of being out-of-place.
Adams recalls introducing “Suits” producer Doug Liman at a
conference (started by Liman’s late father) for public-interest lawyers. “It’s
the cream of the crop. (I) felt exactly like Mike Ross would feel in this room –
no idea what I was doing there, scared …. I don’t even play a lawyer on TV; I
play a fake lawyer.”
It was a lesson in merely pretending to belong. “We all have
to put on this mask of confidence.”
In show business, masks are common. For actors – who tend to
be loose and creative – wearing a suit and tie can be a transformation. “Just
being in those clothes does something sort of really rigid,” Adams said. “It’s like
putting on a suit of armor …. It’s completely different from our normal lives.”
Inside one of those suits, Gabriel Macht plays Harvey Specter,
intense and imposing. In real life, said Meghan Markle (who plays Rachel Zane),
Macht often gets “a bit of the giggles.”
Colleagues describe the “Gabriel giggles,” which Macht doesn’t
dispute. “I find life in general very funny. I feel like we are all a bunch of
monkeys and I’m laughing at all of us. My attention span is very short.”
Macht, 41, certainly seems to have a pleasant life. As the
son of busy actor Stephen Macht, he grew up in Beverly Hills; he’s been married
for a decade to Jacinda Barrett, the actress who became famous as a breezy
Australian import in “Real World: London,” and they have two children.
Adams, 32, also seems to be thriving. Show business, he
said, lets him know “incredibly creative and engaging people.” Of late, he was
directed by Oscar-nominee Agnieska Holland (in the “Rosemary’s Baby” remake) and
he became engaged to Troian Bellisario, the “Pretty Little Liars” star who is
the daughter of two TV producers. And now there’s this “re-energized” year of “Suits.”
“Suits,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, USA, rerunning at
Season-opener, June 11, also airs at 11 a.m.
Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday.