A specter in Manila

Koji Arsua (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - When Hollywood stars of Gabriel Macht’s magnitude hit Manila, there are fancons, billboards, and walks on Fashion Week. With Gabriel Macht, star of the quietly brilliant TV show Suits, it was the opposite. He was in and out, and yet his visit is more meaningful than simply  exhibiting his swoon-worthy smile to thousands of fans in the country. You see, he was here to support Project Wonderful, Globe’s nation-building initiative to help rebuild sustainable livelihood programs for typhoon Haiyan-affected families and communities.

Macht personally flew to Ormoc, Leyte to participate in relief efforts by helping set up sari-sari stores for communities to get back on their feet. We can hardly imagine Harvey Specter, the best closer in New York City, getting down and dirty, but he did just that, a day before meeting Supreme for an intimate interview. We talked to Macht on his real feelings for Harvey, his favorite case, and what a wonderful day is like for him.

And oh, we still got that swoon-worthy smile.

SUPREME: What made you decide to go to the Philippines to be part of Project Wonderful?

GABRIEL MACHT: I was humbled by the fact that Globe asked me to join forces with them. Hopefully, I can bring some awareness to their vision, which is nation-building, culture-building, and brand-building in terms of getting small businesses up and running, and allowing them to get their own entrepreneurial spirit. I think it’s an inspiring cause and I’m happy to be here.

What makes the Philippines a good place to visit?

For one thing, the people are incredible. It’s not every country you go to where people just have these open faces and smiles. And (everyone is) kind, generous, respectful, and sweet-natured. I’ve traveled the world and it’s not like this everywhere. That goes a long way.

Aside from launching Globe’s Project Wonderful, what else did you do in the country?

I’ve only been here for 24 hours. We visited Ormoc, and we went to the sugarcane field to have a traditional lunch with (Ormoc Congresswoman) Lucy Torres-Gomez. She was so welcoming and she toured us through the town. I hope to visit Intramuros today. It’s such a short trip, and I really do hope to bring my wife and kids and visit some of the beaches. Also to go back to Ormoc and see how the town has developed.        

In what ways are you similar to Harvey Specter?

I think both Harvey and I have self-doubt and insecurity, and I think we can both be stubborn at times. But in large parts, we’re opposites. He’s definitely smarter, he’s way more quick to judge, and he’s way harsher than I am. I think I have a gentler soul.

But personally, do you like Harvey?

Sure, I love him! Harvey is a narcissist, and he believes it’s okay to own your narcissism. I don’t buy that philosophy, but as a TV character, I think it’s charming and playful. I think it’s okay to be a narcissist if you’re a character on TV.  

What was your favorite case in the series?

I don’t really have favorites. I enjoy working on the show week to week, and I love the dynamics of the writers and creators. I think it’s an interesting concept, this whole idea of a guy who hasn’t gone to law school or college, but is brighter than everybody else out there. It’s not like it can’t happen, but at times it can become farfetched.

My father, Stephen Macht, actually played the Harvard ethics professor that gave Mike an A+, which isn’t actually true because Mike never went to college. We have a couple of good scenes together where I try to blackmail this ethics professor.

In real life, would you ever consider being a lawyer?

Never. There are lawyers in my family, like my sister who is a district attorney in the Bronx, and I’ve learned from them, as far as how to infuse some of their talents into Harvey, but it has never been a goal of mine.

Suits is back this week. What can we expect from Harvey this season and the next?

Michael Phelps has a cameo. Scottie (Harvey’s rival) and Harvey are making a run at a real relationship, and the dynamics are going to be challenging because Harvey is now her boss. Mike is hitting a sort of glass ceiling, this idea of “can he go anywhere in this firm?” and how public he can make his success. Does he want to just push the eject button and work somewhere else? There’s a lot of good stuff.  

What is a wonderful day for you?

There’s nothing better than being with my family. I really enjoy the simple things in life, like waking up and having my wife and kids around me, making a nice lunch for ourselves, and taking a hike or going for a long walk by the beach. Just being with them and seeing my kids sing, play, or smile. There’s nothing better.

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For more information about Project Wonderful, visit www.projectwonderful.ph.

Tweet the author @kojibberish.

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