Man behind Harvey Specter: Gabriel Macht
FHM: I always saw Harvey as a powerhouse with the best one-liners, obviously, being the main guy. Is there anything about his character that you don’t like playing as much? Anything that you’re uncomfortable with?
Gabriel Macht: Anything I’m uncomfortable with? Ummm
Because he seems so much fun to play. But is there any part of it that’s not?
Well, if you must know the truth... (Laughs) Here’s how I look at it. First of all, let’s just say I think you’re right. There is so much to play. There’re tonnes of colours that he’s able to work with. Very often he’s a very aggressive, defensive guy who is a bit unhinged, and he takes things very personally. And he’s angstridden. So, often, when you have to get inside of that state of mind, it’s draining... as an actor. It’s a total challenge but it’s awesome to play. When it’s all put together, it’s like a great character that you’ve seen this guy covering for so many years. And now we’re seeing underneath where it’s all coming from... how he’s sort of like a loose cannon, and why, as far as his abandonment issues. As an actor I’m so different than this guy that it’s a challenge to play, but it’s also like, to be in that head space 12 to 14 hours a day! It’s a draining thing. And I tell the writers, “This is great stuff, but just so you know, I am super duper exhausted by the end of the day, because I’ve got to be, like, in people’s faces, all the time.”
You’ve taken on some extra activities. And you’re directing again this season, is that correct?
We’re still figuring it out. Due to scheduling and my personal life, I don’t know if it’s going to happen this year, but next year for sure. But I so enjoyed directing. I loved it. It was just a fantastic experience.
Yeah. And you tried producing as well?
What does that entail? How much does that add into the dynamic to the job?
The way that it works on this show, as far as a producer goes, is when you have ideas, you throw them into the mix, and when you want to be involved, everyone’s listening. So it becomes collaborative at that point. If I didn’t want to do a thing, I could still get away with having that credit, for some reason.
When you see actors that are producers, most of the time it’s like, here’s the bone. But it depends on what you do with it. So there have been a lot of casting ideas that have come across the table. And when it comes to the aesthetic, or planning or where the character’s going, as a producer, you feel like it’s your job to throw in. My perspective on it is that it’s a very collaborative experience. The showrunner/creator sort of makes the final call. But you see a bunch of producers’ credits on television. Everyone has two cents. If you throw in your two cents, and it lands; great, if it doesn’t, maybe you get the next one. That’s how I look at it.
How about directing?
I can’t wait to do it again. It was an excellent experience. I loved being on the floor with everyone. The ensemble of actors was really with me in the trenches. I happen to have gotten sick on the first episode. I had to be this aggressive guy who has all these hats on. It was funny. There days when I was like, okay, I’m the actor? Let me put on the director’s hat. Oh, I’m the producer now. I’ve got to deal with scheduling and how we get to this location. Is this location going to work? And all that stuff... But it was thrilling. Totally great!
And you needed Donna to help you through it.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That’s funny.
Has it been a relief seeing Harvey kind of soften a bit over the seasons and open up?
I think a relief is part of it. I always want to see a character that’s three-dimensional. So if you’re just seeing the same thing every week, sometimes, it’s not as challenging. But there’s a reason why he is this, Type A, macho guy, who’s uber-confident. I think he’s covering for all the insecurities that he’s got underneath. So when we start poking holes into his armour and we actually reveal what it is about him, and what makes him tick, that’s really engrossing for me, as an actor. It’s the way how it should be. Having said that, I think Aaron and the writing team have done a really good job in slowly pulling that out. As you guys saw with the first episode, Harvey’s now in therapy, and he’s actually getting in touch with his feelings. And, like, all the strong women in his life have all said, “You need to be in touch with your feelings. You need to reveal. You need to be vulnerable. You’re not going to get to anything if you’re not showing yourself.” I think he’s slowly trying to do that. I think he got burned bigtime by his mother. And that’s what we’ll figure out throughout Season 5. But I think it’s headed in an interesting place for him, in a dynamic way. Yeah.