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Why Gabriel Macht From Suits Looks So Familiar

When it comes to television characters who have captured our attention over the last decade, Harvey Specter is one that tops the list. He has the charisma to make everyone around him love and believe in him. And he also has the kind of arrogant confidence to make those same people want to bang their heads against the wall. But his character is only as good as the guy who brings him to life on screen, and that was done expertly by Gabriel Macht.

If James Bond were a lawyer, it would look a lot like Macht's portrayal of Specter. He was the go-to lawyer at Pearson, Specter, and Litt for any situation that looked to be spinning out of control. He was the guy that all ladies loved. He was the guy that all men wanted to be. And he looked great in a suit. Gabriel Macht was able to capture all of those aspects of the character and bring him to life to anchor "Suits" for the near decade-run it enjoyed on the USA Network. 

While Macht may be known for his career-defining role as the smooth-talking, high-powered New York attorney, he is no stranger to the spotlight. He has been involved in some major productions starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood, and he stood right alongside them. If you think you have seen Macht before, these are some of the most likely places. 

He was a quick draw in American Outlaws

While you may have seen Gabriel Macht in a few small projects earlier on (his IMDb page goes all the way back to 1980), his first big role was alongside Colin Farrell in "American Outlaws." The 2001 film saw him take on the older brother part of Frank James, while Ferrell brought to life the outlaw legend, Jesse James. The Irish actor revealed the film was a pretty far departure from what really happened. Farrell spoke with IGN and wasn't shy about the differences between fiction and reality. 

"We weren't restricted by the confines of historical fact," he said. "It was just about taking what happens between pages 1 and 110 [of the script] and making that." The "Daredevil" actor went on to say that the point of the film wasn't to stick to the stories that had already been told. "The way the characters are portrayed in this film is nothing like the way these men really were. It's not 'The Long Riders.'"

Harvey Specter may be a confident and impulsive man who fires from the hip when the situation calls for it, but Macht's role in "American Outlaws" feels like the exact opposite. Jesse is the spitfire character, while Frank is the calmer, more in-control one. Fans get to see a cast including Kathy Bates ("Misery," "Waterboy"), former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton, and Ali Larter ("Varsity Blues," "Heroes"). Still, the film's biggest treat may just be Specter in a cowboy hat. 

He was a Navy pilot in Behind Enemy Lines

There are some pretty amazing films about fighter pilots. "Top Gun," "Iron Eagle," "Pearl Harbor," and "Devotion" may all come to mind, but maybe the most underrated is the 2001 film, "Behind Enemy Lines." Owen Wilson plays Burnett, a Navy pilot who is overly bored with his life in the cockpit and is making preparations to leave the Navy. But a routine mission goes awry when his plane goes down behind enemy lines. The photos of mass graves he took spark a manhunt across rough country, and it is a test of his grit to make it to the extraction point. 

Gabriel Macht appears in the film as Stackhouse. He is a clean-cut and straightforward partner to Burnett, sitting behind him in the cockpit as the Goose to his Maverick. The role feels similar to the supporting role in his other 2001 film, as he is simply there for a contrast to the main character. While it is a relatively short appearance (his sacrifice at the beginning of the movie spurs Burnett to flee for his life), his presence is one of the high points in the film. 

Nobody is cockier than a Navy fighter pilot, right? There aren't many vocations that hold a reputation for a cocky swagger more than those who go toe-to-toe with their enemy combatants in the sky. The part may have been the perfect dry run for the arrogance Macht would later embody as Harvey Specter.

He was the NOC in The Recruit

Spy movies have been a thing for decades. While James Bond dominated the genre from the early '60s to the millennium, new breeds of secret agents began popping up all over the place. From Matt Damon's Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Identity" to Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt in the "Mission Impossible" franchise, the spy world got a lot more crowded. 2003 saw a new take on the subject matter with "The Recruit," following a man's recruitment and training into the CIA at a training facility known as "The Farm." 

Gabriel Macht got to return to Colin Farrell's side once more when he played Zack, another recruit in the class. James Douglas Clayton (Farrell) forms a father-son bond with his recruiter, Walter Burke (Al Pacino), and goes down a path of no return when he fails out of "The Farm" only to then be told it was all a cover to set him up as a Non-Official Cover Operative, or a NOC. Everything is turned on its head when a game of cat and mouse pits Zack and James against each other, begging the question, who is telling the truth and who is the real spy?

Macht played second fiddle to Farrell in the story of Jesse James in 2001 and Owen Wilson in the same year. After three big productions as the supporting character, fans started to get an idea of what he was capable of on screen.    

He met his hero in The Good Shepherd

Another entry into the spy genre came in the form of the quasi-biopic "The Good Shepherd." Starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, and Robert De Niro (who also directed), the film follows Edward Wilson (Damon) as he joins the foreign intelligence mission in World War II, leading to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. Gabriel Macht appears as John Russell Jr. The most potent moment of his appearance is when he approaches Wilson to inform him that his sister is pregnant by him and that he expects him to do the right thing. 

Although the role didn't require him to be on screen for long, Macht spoke with The Interview Factory about his experience working with the ensemble cast and his hero, Robert De Niro. "When you're an actor and you're auditioning all the time, you can tell yourself, 'I was hired. I belong here.' I did a film that Robert De Niro directed, and he is my hero. On the second day of shooting with all these incredible actors," he said, as he listed the cast. "Robert De Niro hired me, I belong here. And I had to say a line, 'She's Pregnant.' And we had to do fifty takes. After the seventh take, I thought, 'I don't know if I belong here anymore.'" 

He continued to tell the story of how Damon assured him that DeNiro just likes to do a lot of takes, and it is part of his process. Of course, Macht did belong in the mix, and would soon start getting starring roles instead of supporting characters. 

He put on a mask in The Spirit

Some superhero properties lend themselves perfectly to the big screen, while others don't. Sometimes a legendary story writer like Frank Miller will get movie adaptations that blow everyone away with films like, "300," "Sin City," and "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns." Sometimes he gets a movie adaptation that falls flat with audiences, like Gabriel Macht's first legitimate starring role, "The Spirit." 

The film sees Denny Colt, AKA The Spirit (Macht), as a former enthusiastic cop who is killed in the line of duty and is reborn as a womanizing vigilante. The ensemble cast includes Samuel L. Jackson ("Pulp Fiction," "The Avengers") as The Spirit's arch nemesis, The Octopus, and a slew of female costars like Eva Mendes ("Hitch," "The Other Guys"), Scarlett Johansson ("Black Widow," "Lost in Translation"), Jamie King ("Sin City," "White Chicks"), and Sarah Paulson ("American Horror Story," "American Crime Story"). Despite the stellar cast, the film couldn't resonate with fans. 

"'The Spirit' is mannered to the point of madness," Roger Ebert said in his review. "There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material." But Macht believes there is a deeper point to the character that made him different from other superheroes. "I think 'The Spirit' has a bit more self-deprecating humor," he told Female. "I think that the essence of the Spirit that we created was the real innate natural goodness that he brings to the world."

S.W.A.T.: Firefight

Making movies based on old TV shows was a fad that saw "Mission Impossible," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "21 Jump Street," "A-Team," and "Get Smart" brought to life on the big screen years after their cancelation. One adaptation that flew under the radar, in comparison, was "S.W.A.T.: Firefight," a 2011 film seeing Gabriel Macht in the lead role as a Los Angeles S.W.A.T. officer traveling to Detroit to train a new crew in the Motor City. 

There is a place for direct-to-DVD films. While they are usually reserved for movies studios believe aren't good enough to warrant a theatrical run, you can find a few gems here and there. Macht's starring role as a S.W.A.T. extraordinaire proved to be an enjoyable feature. With a cast that included two former Terminators in Robert Patrick ("Terminator 2: Judgement Day") and Kristana Loken ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"), there was plenty of action for fans. 

As this is a sequel to "S.W.A.T." (2003), it is also the third Macht project connected to Colin Farrell, who starred in the original. Whether or not he is made for starring roles or supporting characters, no one could argue that he wasn't the perfect fit for the lead role in "Suits." His charm and charisma made the series what it is today: one of the most enjoyable legal dramas of all time.