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5 Gabriel Macht Films For 'Suits' Fans

June 11th, 2012 8:00am EDT

Suits I know Suits fans are excited for Thursday's return of Harvey Specter - but how well do you know the man behind him, Gabriel Macht?

As Harvey, Macht is giving one of the most outstanding individual performances on television. He's everything that a TV leading man should be. Harvey is smart, complex, charismatic, strong-willed and sharp-witted, just to name a few things. But Macht is one of the best actors working today, who's been great in much more than just one role.

While you're waiting for Suits to return, I've compiled a list of five of Macht's film roles that Harvey fans should definitely check out. Read on...

5. The Spirit (2008)

Superheroes are in vogue right now, so it's worth taking a second look at The Spirit, in which Macht played the title character, based on Will Eisner's successful comic series. The film itself may not win you over, but it does teach us that Macht can play a larger-than-life hero as well as he plays ordinary folks.

Sure, this being a comic-book movie it's not exactly Shakespeare (how serious can one take a flick with a character named Silken Floss, really) but to his credit, Macht keeps his Denny Colt/The Spirit feeling like a human being, instead of an over-the-top caricature. If someday he gets a better script, The Spirit gives me the confidence that Macht could do what Jeremy Renner did in The Avengers: remind us that these days, "serious" actors can flourish in comic-book movies, too.

This being a superhero movie, you also get to see him in a cool costume, dispatching of bad guy Samuel L. Jackson in truly awesome fashion, and of course, romancing the love interests. Whether or not the film succeeds, it's got all the components of a leading role in it for you to enjoy.

Plus, thanks to this flick, we can say that Macht has his own action figure, which is definitely good for some coolness points.

The Spirit is available on single-disc DVD, two-disc DVD, and Blu-Ray.

4. Bad Company (2002)

A decade ago, Macht had a supporting role as a veteran CIA agent in this action flick that starred Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock (pictured above with Macht) in a case of seriously mistaken identity. As Officer Seale, one of the agents whose job it is to whip Jake Hayes (Rock) into shape, Macht gets to use that dry wit that would later serve him so well as Harvey Specter.

Even if you're not a Rock fan, give this one a watch. Bad Company is a legitimately entertaining movie that has some genuine suspense and humor in it. While Seale's not a huge part of the movie, he's around enough to make it count, and for Macht to make an impression. His character could be the usual government drone, but he's brassy, smart and we believe he's probably a pretty competent CIA agent in his own right.

For Macht fans, the takeaway here is that he can take a smaller, supporting role and still make that character feel like a fully realized person. He doesn't need to be in the foreground to craft something audiences will remember. It's truly doing more with less.

Bad Company is available on DVD.

3. Because I Said So (2007)

It feels like every actor has a romantic comedy somewhere on their resume. These can either be opportunities for them to show off a vulnerable, heart-melting side...or fairly paint-by-numbers flicks where the leading man is practically interchangeable. As the leading man in Because I Said So, thankfully Macht is in the former type of movie.

He plays Johnny Dresden, who falls for Millie (Mandy Moore, who's been in quite a few of these cute flicks over her career; remember Chasing Liberty?) and has to deal with her overbearing mother (Diane Keaton, pictured above with Macht). It's nothing novel, but the women out there crushing on Harvey Specter will fawn over Johnny, who plays guitar and is great with kids and ladies alike.

As a Macht fan, though, what's great about this is it's yet another type of role that he can play, and that he again manages to do something just that extra bit different with. You can absolutely see where Harvey Specter's charm comes from watching this movie, but at the same time, Johnny isn't your typical romantic-comedy leading man.

He's secure in who he is, and that makes his character feel more legitimate. You feel as if he's a real person, capable of having a spine and valid thoughts, and not just going through the phases a character of this type so often does. Given a fairly common type of film role, Macht still takes it in his own direction, which is one of his best qualities as an actor.

Because I Said So is available on DVD.

2. Archangel (2005)

This BBC TV-movie is so obscure that I can't actually find a picture of Macht in it to run in this article - but it is absolutely worth seeking out. Based on the page-turner of a novel by Robert Harris (who also wrote The Ghost, which was later adapted into the Pierce Brosnan movie The Ghost Writer), it stars Daniel Craig as historian "Fluke" Kelso, who digs up more about Stalin than he ever wanted to know. And for a TV-movie, it's as good as anything you'd see on the big screen.

Here's the piece of work where I became a Gabriel Macht fan. He plays R.J. O'Brian, a news reporter who, in the book, was so insufferable I found myself wanting to punch him in the face. I hated him and was not looking forward to seeing him in the film. I was honestly surprised, then, that as Macht played him, I actually ended up liking O'Brian and caring what happened to him. That's great talent: to take a character and make him even better than he was on the page.

O'Brian is still the aggressive would-be star journalist that he is in the book; Macht doesn't pull him away from the source material. Where he impressed me was that he really fleshed out the character. I understood why O'Brian was the jerk that he could be, and how he thought, and that made me empathize with him. As he did with Seale in Bad Company, Macht takes a character who doesn't necessarily have a lot of material, and you wouldn't be able to tell that by the end result that he creates.

Not to mention that it says something about an actor who can hold his own with future James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. Macht is working with another top-flight actor in an adaptation of an outstanding book: this is an underrated film that needs to be seen by more people, especially those who are Macht fans.

Archangel is available on DVD.

1. Middle Men (2010)

Stating the obvious: this is not Harvey Specter. That's what puts Middle Men at the top of my list. Suits fans who watch this dark comedy might need some time and space before they can look at Harvey Specter the same way again, and that's the brilliance of it.

Some actors, especially after they've been working awhile, develop a type. You see them in something and you just know they're playing the bad guy, or the love interest, or something like that. This movie explodes the idea that Macht could ever have a type. The man who plays sharp-dressed, top-of-his-world Harvey Specter is here playing a stoned ex-rocket scientist named Buck Dolby who's too stupid to realize what's happening to him, and damned if he doesn't pull it off brilliantly.

It's hilarious. It's inappropriate. It involves sex, drugs, grown men acting like children and the Russian mob. This movie isn't for everyone, but if you can give it a chance, you'll be entertained by it. And despite the fact that Buck is pretty much a down-and-out loser, because it's Macht and his acting chops at work, Buck is strangely sympathetic in a ride that ends up being really, really fun.

You really see how great of an actor he is when he's truly acting, playing someone you'd never think he could. He can play both a top-flight lawyer and a complete slacker, two roles at total opposite ends of the spectrum, and he does them both so brilliantly.

And Macht himself said he wished more people would see this movie in our interview in December. What more prompting do you need? Give it a look - but be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Middle Men is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

This list is only a small sampling from Macht's film resume, of course...but hopefully it will provide Suits fans with an even greater appreciation of how lucky we are to have him on our televisions. Don't miss him when Suits returns this Thursday, June 14 at 10 PM ET/PT.

You can learn more about Gabriel Macht by reading our in-depth interview from season one of Suits and following him on Twitter (@GabrielMacht). For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my Starpulse writer page and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

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