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Gabriel Macht in ‘Suits’

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Actor

Gabriel Macht’s career could have taken a very different turn when, in 2004, he landed the role of FBI Agent Don Eppes in CBS’ procedural “Numbers.”

“It was a really good pilot,” he recalls of the series that by the time it was picked up no longer included Macht. “I was totally fine in it, by the way. They obviously wanted to go in another direction.”

Today, there’s little question of how people recognize Macht. As Harvey Specter, the cunning lawyer who hires genius college dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) as his associate, he is now best known for USA Network’s “Suits.”

“I read it and loved the banter and wit,” says Macht. And while drawn to the character’s smarts, it is probably a fair assessment that the actor, who off-screen possesses Specter’s irreverent charm, relates to the character’s candor.

Bring up the topic of getting into character or chemistry readings and he’ll quote one of the Hollywood greats. “Charlton Heston once said, ‘Stand up straight and say the lines,’ ” he says. “I think it’s really easy to take that direction when the script is good. Everything starts from the script.”

Chemistry included, he says. “It’s called acting. You create that together.”

And sometimes, as Macht has with on-screen partner Adams, you just get lucky. “It’s a lot of fun to play with him. I’m fortunate to be working with Patrick in a show that has a very different syntax to how a lot of people speak,” says Macht. “Let’s just say something’s working.”

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