Patrick J. Adams is more than just a suit
hot Magazine, Issue 194, April 2012
More than just a suit
Meet Patrick J. Adams, the star of one of TV’s hottest new shows
By Sophia Goh
There are many reasons why people love the new TV series Suits. Patrick J. Adams is one of the biggest ones.
In this, his breakout role, the 30-year-old plays Mike Ross, a down-on-his-luck genius and college-dropout who finally gets a chance to make something of himself when he lands a job with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s top lawyers.
In a world of high-flying and confident, well, suits, Mike is the slightly awkward underdog everyone can’t help rooting for, and Patrick’s brilliant portrayal hasn’t gone unnoticed – he actually picked up a nomination for best actor in a drama series at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.
On this sunny Wednesday morning, the star is relaxed, chatty and totally charming during our phone interview, which is perfect because we have so much to ask him about.
Would you describe yourself as a suit kind of guy?
I’m 100 percent not a suit kind of guy. As the show progresses, I get a bit of an education and get a bit more comfortable in them, but I’m much more the original Mike Ross type with ripped jeans and hoodies. My mother always wanted me to be wearing suits so it’s her dream come true, but personally it would take a lot for me to get into a suit. Now I’m beginning to figure it out. I’m starting to go to a lot more events that require me to dress up.
Is this maybe another dream of your mum’s, for you to be playing a lawyer?
[Laughs] I think she liked the idea of me being in the business world; she’s a businesswoman. But she always thought I’d make a great lawyer because at the heart of a great lawyer is a great arguer, and if I’m good at anything it’s arguing and debating a point until I get my way. I’m beginning to learn that’s what makes a good lawyer – somebody who can bend the rules and come up with as many creative ways to get their way as possible.
Was the law something you were interested in before the show?
Not the law specifically, but my father was a journalist so I’m interested in news. Big cases would always interest me. The law specifically was not something I was drawn to, but getting my way was something that I was always really interested in, so I spent a lot of time trying to do that.
Tell us about your relationship with Gabriel Macht off screen.
Gabriel and I have become very close over the first season. There’s definitely a mentor relationship that exists there in that he’s such a great actor and he’s been in the business a long time. There’s a lot for me to learn from him in that respect. I’m always learning from him and his experience, and watching how well he works. But Gabriel and I also got along really well as friends right from the beginning. We were immediately really close, talked about our families and our experiences, and I think at this point we learn a lot watching each other work. We just have a lot to relate about and as the show goes on, we get closer and closer.
What do you like most about playing Mike?
The thing I like most is his sense of humour and the fact that our show has led us this far. I’m so grateful to him. We have so much fun on set and there are so many moments in the first season that were really born out of us being encouraged to make things up on the spot and improvise based on the script that we got. Mike’s a really playful character and I think a lot of the chemistry between Gabriel and I are based on like, brothers – we ruffle each other up a little bit and they make fun of each other, and I think that, for me, is a freedom that I’ve never experienced on anything else.
And what do you like the least?
That’s a tough one… On some days it’s the suits because I’m more inclined to throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. When I’ve been shooting for 14 days and I’ve been wearing a suit every single day, I get really uncomfortable. I’m always fidgeting and pulling on my shirt, straightening my tie and getting my jacket on properly, while Gabriel waltzes around in his perfect Tom Ford suit and always seems like he’s perfectly comfortable in it.
How do you cope with the long hours of shooting?
That’s a good question actually. It was a big learning curve in the first season. This is really my first TV show so it was my first time working those kinds of hours. At first I didn’t cope with it, to be honest. It was really difficult for me. But it didn’t take me long to sort of get into a rhythm and you eat properly and start getting enough sleep, you make sure you have your bags packed before you go to school in the morning, like I did as a kid. By the second month I felt like I had found a really strong, healthy pattern. I was getting regular exercise, eating properly, working on the script as much as I could and going to work every day really energised and excited about getting to do this job, which I’m so grateful for.
If you hadn’t become an actor, what would have been Plan B?
I didn’t have much of a Plan B [laughs]. I think now that I’ve discovered photography and my father being a journalist, maybe I would have been a photojournalist. But ever since I was a young kid, I knew I’d be acting. I know that at some point I’d like to teach; I think it’s very inspirational to work with young people and encourage them. I spend a lot of time at my alma mater, University of Southern California here in Los Angeles, and I spend a lot of time talking to the students there about graduating and working with them. In high school I was always working with kids, teaching theatre during the summer, so I have a passion for that as well. But I think I’m so lucky to actually get to call myself an actor and pay the bills that way, and I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to start thinking about a Plan B.