After a long day of Suits, Gabriel Macht is ready to slip into something a little more comfortable. "I'm a T-shirt-and-jeans-with-combat-boots guy," says the Bronx-born actor, kicking back in his Toronto home after wrapping an episode of USA's whip-smart legal hit. "And if I don't have to shave, I don't."
While Macht, 40, may prefer the laid-back look, his hyper-polished character, Harvey Specter, opts to wage his courtroom battles armed in sleek Tom Ford suits. Beneath the surface, though, a case can be made that the two share a drive to succeed and a charm that's almost criminal. We deposed TV's smoothest legal eagle on crashing with his bromantic costar, ignoring the Swingers guide to dating and what it's like to have caviar with Sir Anthony Hopkins.
TV Guide Magazine: Are you at all surprised by Suits' success?
Macht: I always knew that [creator] Aaron Korsh had a strong vision. His writing is very witty, and that's what attracted me to the show. Harvey Specter is like the James Bond of lawyers in how he manages to outwit his adversaries. But he can be a real snake! I see people tweeting, "I wanna be Harvey Specter," and I'm like, "Really?"
TV Guide Magazine: Maybe it's because he does everything with style. With all those designer suits, you're turning into the male Carrie Bradshaw.
Macht: What's funny is I was in the second episode of Sex and the City. I was the modelizer, the guy who liked to videotape women having sex with me. People still recognize me from that show.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you shadow any real-life lawyers to prepare for Suits?
Macht: There's law in my family. My sister was an assistant district attorney, my aunt was in family law, and my grandfather was a judge. So I picked up pieces here and there. But look, talk to any lawyer and they'll say, "None of this law stuff [on the show] makes sense. The cases are done in 20 minutes!" We make it as authentic as we can within the heightened reality of television.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it true you and costar Patrick J. Adams, who plays Harvey's not-exactly-legal protégé Mike, were once roommates?
Macht: When I moved to Toronto to shoot the first season, I didn't have an apartment, and I was like, "Dude, where are you staying?" He grew up here, and his mother had this big penthouse, so he was like, "I'm staying at my mom's." I was like, "Your mom's? [Pauses] Can I stay with you?" [Laughs] We lived together for, like, 10 days, until I found a place.
TV Guide Magazine: People love the relationship between Harvey and Mike. Was your bromantic chemistry immediate?
Macht: Yeah, what we have together is fun. Aaron throws great lines at us, but there are times we improv, and it's OK to make fun of each other within that. A lot of chemistry is just really listening and being as real as you possibly can.
TV Guide Magazine: You've been married since 2004 to Aussie actress Jacinda Barrett, who'll soon guest on Suits. How did you meet?
Macht: We were basically set up on a blind date. I took her to dinner, and we closed the restaurant. The date lasted long into the night and there was no hanky-panky, which was awesome. In Swingers, they talk about how you don't call the girl right after the date, and I said to her, "What do you think about this stupid two-day rule?" She was like, "If you had fun tonight and you wanna call, call." I got in the car and immediately called her, and we spoke until 9 in the morning. We've been together ever since.
TV Guide Magazine: You made your film debut at age 8, costarring with Treat Williams in Why Would I Lie?, then didn't appear on screen again for more than a decade. Why the long break?
Macht: My mom didn't want to be a stage mother, and my dad [actor Stephen Macht] was pursuing his own career. They were like, "He should be in school. Let him have a normal childhood." At the time, I was quite perturbed, but I got over it.
TV Guide Magazine: So if your 4-year-old daughter, Satine, decides that she wants to follow mom and dad into the business, what would you say?
Macht: I would not have anybody running her to auditions! If anything, she wants to be an A.D. [assistant director]. She's on set with me all the time, and she's like, "Gabriel, we need you in hair and makeup. What would you like to eat, Gabriel?" It's so funny.
TV Guide Magazine: You starred as the title character in the comic-book film The Spirit. Did you get to keep the mask?
Macht: I stole three or four masks. I think I got the [whole] costume. That was the most fun I've ever had making a film. Some people felt like the movie was all over the place, but I think they're gonna come back to it and go, "Wait, this is actually good."
TV Guide Magazine: You've worked with Hollywood heavy hitters John Travolta, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Who made the biggest impression?
Macht: Robert De Niro gave me a hug in the audition room. He's the sweetest, gentlest man. And gosh, I learned so much from Anthony Hopkins [on the set of the action comedy Bad Company]. He took me under his wing. He was like, "Just call me Tony," and brought me into his trailer and we had Beluga caviar. I was like, "This is amazing!" He really taught me that you could be the biggest star in the world, but if you've got an ego, you're nothing.
Suits airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA.