Monday January 7, 2013
Meghan Markle plays smart and sassy role in 'Suits'
American actress Meghan Markle is grateful for her role on legal drama Suits because it is her most high-profile piece of work and a good ol’ fashioned episodic series.
“As an actor, that sounds awful,” says Markle, 31, when asked if she would consider a role on serialised shows such as Lost, as opposed to an episodic drama such as Suits.
She has certainly put in the time, having 10 years of acting under her belt. She started with being in an episode of soap drama General Hospital in 2002 and going on to bit parts in movies such as A Lot Like Love (2005) where she played a “hot girl”.
She says: “The best thing is having job security, right? To be able to know that you’re gonna go back to work the next week. For me, working on something such as Suits is exactly that. I know that I can go back and play.
“I’ve spent lots of years waiting for the right show, and now that I have it, I’m really glad that I can’t get killed off,” she says in a phone interview from Hong Kong recently.
Now in its second season in the United States, Suits sees Markle playing smart and sassy paralegal Rachel Zane, who has unfulfilled dreams of becoming a lawyer.
Rachel is the love interest of Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who is brought into a prestigious law firm, even though he never went to law school, by sharp litigator Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht).
“I’ve worked for many years before that and played a lot of great characters. One I loved was Amy Jessup, a junior FBI agent, on Fringe. While it was really fun to kick down doors and have all this gun training, I was happy to trade that in for how savvy Rachel Zane is – and her Manolo Blahnik shoes.
“It’s a big transition but playing her has been a huge game-changer for me in my career and I’m so grateful.” Suits, she says, has opened “a very big door for me”.
She adds: “It’s given me a level of recognisability I didn’t have before this. Patrick Adams and I were in a pilot together for a different network about five years ago and it didn’t get past. Now, to be able to get options for my hiatus is a huge change from hoping you get a job.”
Most of all, she basks in the fact that she plays an intelligent woman because “what Rachel and I have in common is that we are both very proud of how educated we are”.
She majored in theatre and international relations at Northwestern University and used to work in the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She says unabashedly: “I like being the smart girl in the room and I always strive to be knowledgeable about current events. For Rachel, her intellectual prowess is one of the most attractive things about her, not intimidating but enviable.”
She adds with pride: “Oh you know, I gotta tell you, I was such a nerd growing up, a complete bookworm. So having worked for the US Embassy, politics is something I feel I’m relatively well-read about. But I just like to be informed about all sorts of things.”
Besides that, she appreciates her role for being yet another step towards colour-blind casting.
Markle, whose mother is African-American and father Dutch-Irish, says: “I’m bi-racial, I love that it’s opened up. Being cast as Rachel is the perfect example – she was written as an incredibly smart girl and the dream girl.
“In the past, the dream girl could only be blonde-haired and blue-eyed. The idea that a dream girl can be opened up to a freckled-face, bi-racial girl like me says a lot about how the industry is changing and how the perception of beauty can mean anything.”
And she truly felt that she was going somewhere in Hollywood when she got the role as a delivery girl in the comedy Horrible Bosses (2011), which stars Jennifer Aniston, even though it was a rather glorified walk-on role. Of her silver-screen experience, she says: “That was my moment of going: ‘Wow, my life is changing.’ Even though it was a small part, just from the moment at the table-read, to be sitting across Jennifer Aniston, who’s like ‘Hey, I’m Jen!’. They are making a sequel now, I played a Fed-Ex girl in the first, maybe someone needs a package delivered in the second.” – The Straits Times Singapore
Suits Season Two begins today at 8pm on Diva Universal (Astro Ch 702).
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