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Patrick J. Adams on his surprise SAG nomination

12/15/2011 12:14:43 AM

This morning, Suits Season 1 DVD Boxset star Patrick J. Adams became only the third actor from a USA show to ever be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. (Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub was nominated seven times, with two wins, and Debra Messing received a nod for The Starter Wife Season 1 DVD.) It’s also impressive when you look at his company in the category: Boardwalk Empire‘s Steve Buscemi, Friday Night Light‘s Kyle Chandler, Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston, and Dexter Seasons 1-5 DVD Boxset's Michael C. Hall. “To give you an idea of how unprepared and unsuspecting I was of this happening, when I saw the phone ringing, I thought what anybody thinks when they see the phone ringing at six in the morning, that something bad has happened,” he tells EW, with a laugh. “I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t even know that [the SAG announcement] was happening today.”

It’s a nice turn around for an actor who thought about quitting the business last year after being fired from the pilot of NBC’s ill-fated Friends With Benefits. That happened not long before he landed the role of Suits‘ Mike Ross, a guy with a photographic memory who works for New York City’s top legal closer (Gabriel Macht’s Harvey Specter), with whom he has to keep secret the fact that Mike doesn’t have a Harvard diploma or even a law degree.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What do you think it is about the character Mike Ross that caught the attention of your fellow actors?
PATRICK J. ADAMS: For me, the thing about Mike, which has always been the thing about Mike, is the chance to embody the energy of somebody who’s in a new environment that scares them and that they’re not sure they can survive in, that takes every piece of their will power and their faith in themselves to keep them there. I think we all respond to that, actors especially. My experience as an actor has been defined by that struggle to be taken seriously, by that struggle to improve, by that struggle to get people to pay attention and give you the opportunities that you think that you deserve and that you think that you can do a good job with. So that’s always been my energy playing him. This morning when I hear about this nomination, and then I learn more about the process of being nominated for a SAG Award and understand that these are all working actors, these are union members who come together and sort of randomly pick the people that they want to nominate, to me, that says that they really connected with that struggle, with what Mike is going through trying to prove himself in a world that can be really difficult and fierce and that people sometimes fall through the cracks in.

And what’s great is that you play him as someone who can be brilliant, charming, and sexy and still be insecure, which makes him real and relatable. Beyond the work drama, I remember us talking about the love triangle toward the end of season 1, and you saying it takes a lot of confidence to end up with the woman who you always imagined yourself with and you didn’t know if Mike was there yet. 
Yeah. That’s what makes him a pleasure to play. There’s so much on television and in film about the coolest guy in the room, the best guy, the guy who does everything right. Then he has one problem, but other than that, he’s kind of amazing. That’s not my feeling about myself or my work, it’s not really my experience with anybody. It’s the flaws that make us interesting. It’s the struggle. And so from the very beginning, I was really encouraged by the creator of the show [Aaron Korsh] and everyone involved to pursue that angle. That’s what I came into the audition with. You know, I was fired from a job not long before Suits happened, and I was really carrying that around with me, that feeling that nothing was really gonna work out and that there was a good chance that I was gonna walk away from the business and call it quits. And then I got this script, and I thought wow, that’s really cool that someone’s writing a character that so fits my state of mind right now. It was the perfect coming together of that. All actors who have been in this game long enough have experienced that same thing that I went through last year, which is rejection and people telling you that you’re not good enough and that you’re not ready for this job.

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