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The FoF on the set of Suits with Rick Hoffman

Recently the FoF had the pleasure of spending the day with our great friends from the USA Network on the set of one of their newest shows, Suits.  We will bring you our time on the set and the interviews with the cast and crew. This week our time with series star Rick Hoffman. Suits is on Thursday nights on the USA Network at 10/9c.

PANEL: Do you want to tell us about Louis?


RICK HOFFMAN: Okay, sure.  He-, well, the quick version is, he is like the douche of the firm.  But to get a more psychological angle, he, you know, he, he-, from the beginning of the pilot, he gets defeated by one of, you know, his equals, which is Harvey Spector, played by Gabriel Macht.  And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a character that is interesting and becomes more and more interesting ‘cause you-, it’s, it’s, you know, in life and people lose, whether it be a promotion or, you know, they, they, they fail at work, you know it’s the-, it all depends on how they handle, you know, and compose themselves afterwards to recover and this particular character doesn’t.  Or at least, on the outside it seems like he does but on this inside he is just completely broken to pieces and it clearly shows how he treats his co-workers for the-, well, at least for the first part of the-, early part of the series.  And he handles it very poorly and turns, sort of, to the dark side.  But he is a-, he really-, there’s other sides to Louis Litt, that hopefully we’ll get to see episodes down the road, that we’ve already...

PANEL: Why would you want to play such a fractured character?

RICK HOFFMAN: Well, fractured-, well, everybody’s fractured, in general, it’s just the level of-, the dimension of fracture, the-, how heavy the fracture is.  In this particular case he’s, he’s pretty much a walking-, I would say, you know, basically, his suit is his shield, he covers himself for who he really is, he doesn’t want anyone to see who that person is.  And who that person is, is actually much softer than he comes across, in the-, especially the first couple of episodes.  Well, actually, now they’re switching around episodes so we don’t know exactly the order but there-, there’s a what makes me so interested in this character is that there are lots of different levels to Louis Litt and it’s very rare that you get an opportunity, as an actor, to play roles like this.  Most of like the last five years I’ve been doing a lot of guest spots that have been very one dimensional and one notes and it-, it’s a blessing to be able to work on a show like this, luck of the draw and all the characters are, are very- are multi-dimensional so...

PANEL: What would you describe being your most fun moment, so far, that you’ve been able to do in the role?

RICK HOFFMAN: I think it’s going to be the second episode, the one after the pilot.  It’s-, I’ve been-, I was-, I'm a-, I am a rally good tennis player, apparently and also love to take my shirt off in front of dudes and make them feel uncomfortable.  That episode, it was the most fun, there’s one coming up that’s just going to be unbelievably challenging, from a dramatic standpoint.  But for me, personally, as an actor, you know, it’s so hard to get jobs like this, even if I’m playing, like today, glorified background, it’s fun.  You know, like just being up here working, has been a unbelievable blessing, you know, that shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Especially, let alone a show that’s as well written like this so...

PANEL: What was your initial reaction when you first saw the script?

RICK HOFFMAN: The pilot?

PANEL: Yeah.

RICK HOFFMAN: A job.  I mean, it’s truly a job.

PANEL: So you went, Halleluiah, I’ve got a job...

RICK HOFFMAN: Well, no, oh, well...

PANEL: ...I (inaudible).

RICK HOFFMAN: Oh, you mean when I first, well, first...

PANEL: When you first read the script?

RICK HOFFMAN: the script, before I knew I had the role?

PANEL: Yeah. 

RICK HOFFMAN: Oh, yeah, I mean, I, I, I played different levels of douche, over the last 11 years but, you know, this guy, I think, I’ve always thought like-, immediately I, I, I was psyched, because this guy is much more refined, he’s more of a yago like character, as someone had said, serpentine.  I sort of try to follow along the lines of a-, it’s just a much more cerebral, maniacal type of, of-, really, like a damaged soul.  Which is-, I find to be, very interesting to play and challenging.  Cause I’m not damaged, at all, no baggage.

PANEL: Who would you say you’re having the most fun with-, working with on the show, so far?

RICK HOFFMAN: Well, I’ve -, it’s-, we still have yet to work with certain actors, like Gabriel and myself, always have fun.  I don’t want to give you like that whole whatever, every actor on the planet has given you like, oh, my God, we’re having such an amazing time, we all get along.  We actually do and...

PANEL: Yeah, but you’re working with somebody like Gina Torres, she’s a very strong force of nature.

RICK HOFFMAN: I can’t stand that girl.  No, we’re-, actually just now, I’m working with-, a few-, actually just now, literally, talking to Gina while she’s-, right now we’re working together and everybody has a-, what the really good thing about this, it’s just-, it’s kinda scary when things like this-, or it’s so easy with everybody because everybody has a different energy, out of the six of us and it’s a pleasure, thus far, in six, seven episodes to work one another.  So I don’t-, you know, I’m sort of, like, you know, as they say, like, you know, the crazy type of, of-, one on, on, on the set. I’m the only one who’s still single so I get to go out and I don’t have a significant other right now to, to, you know, call home to and stay home.  I just kinda go out drinking and have a good time.  And my stories entertain...

PANEL: Where are you going tonight?

RICK HOFFMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  So a lot of my stories entertain a bunch of the cast.  Sarah Rafferty, I, I can’t wait to work with, who I haven’t yet.  She’s just hilarious, they, thank God, made her a regular and she is-, she really adds a lot of fun to the show, which the show needs so, yeah, it seems to be so far.

PANEL: Do you think he actually might suspect there’s something going on, with the new associate?

RICK HOFFMAN: Something...

PANEL: Does-, I mean, does he have like a spidey sense that something’s not up-, not quite right with this one attorney?  I mean, he kinda asked some questions, do you know anything about Harvard, do you know my cousin or whatever?

RICK HOFFMAN: Oh, you’re talking from the pilot?

PANEL: Yeah.  Does he, again, have any sense that this guy isn’t exactly what he’s supposed to be?

RICK HOFFMAN: Oh-, from the get go.  I mean, because he-, first of all, he, he, he, he knows Harvey very well and he doesn’t-, you know, he knows that Harvey is, you know, this gunslinger-, by the seat-, you know, goes by the seat of his pants so he knows something’s up.  And then he notices the briefcase situation, when he gets drug tested, you know, so that leads to more question marks for the rest of the series.  And it ends up being, you know, it does have-, there is a couple of episodes where that’s reverted back to, where they use that as a, a, you know, a troublesome point for Mike Ross, Patrick’s character.  Who I have to say, who does say, hello, ‘cause he’s so busy in there, he can’t wait, ‘cause he’s been tweeting with all of you, in fact, I think you’re tweeting with him, right now.  But he says, hi and he’s like, oh, why do you get to go in?  And I’m-, told him to shut up.

PANEL: You said something a minute ago about, Louis has, has a soft side that he’s kind of hiding...

RICK HOFFMAN: Absolutely.

PANEL: ...but clearly, I mean, he’s, he’s got it in for Harvey, is there a certain-, is there a line that he won’t cross?  I mean, just how far will he go, to stick it to Harvey?

RICK HOFFMAN: I’m not sure what version you saw, of the pilot, there are two.  I don’t know-, they’re were going to throw that scene back in, they didn’t want to make him so-, the bottom line is, he’ll go to any, any, any point to, to, to screw over Harvey.  ‘Cause he truly does deserve-, from a, from a-, from my, Rick’s standpoint, he does, ‘cause he’s a hard-, Louis is the hardest worker of that firm.  And you’ll, I guess, you’ll see as the series goes on.  But he just isn’t as smooth as Harvey and he hates that ‘cause he’s just such a-, he’s who he is, he’s, he’s a, he’s an ugly duckling.  In, in, all senses of the-, of the phrase, you know, in, in life he feels like, you know, tremendous insecurities-, you know, just not smooth, the opposite of smooth. 

PANEL: How did you prepare for the role?

RICK HOFFMAN: How did I prepare for-, this is very-, this is an unimpressive answer.  For whatever reason, I have been able to tap into many different levels, over the course of 11 years, of the asshole, as one would say.  I-, and I honestly can say, I think all of us, have had moments where we get cut off in traffic or, you know, somebody lies to you or your-, we’re all hurt, there’s, you know, injustice all over the place, wherever you go.  And I think, maybe, since I was little, I’ve just been such an-, I, I have this hyper-, I have-, sometimes this is the death of me because it-, I’m so sensitive, I’m very aware of my surroundings, so I always hate to see when people act, shitty or do things that are unfair.  And for some reason, I am able to tap into-, I’m-, I’ve just always-, curious what makes those people think they’re doing the right thing.  So that’s why I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m-, you know, I make money playing those assholes and they don’t-, you know, they think they’re innocent and that’s what I love about-, that’s what make it to me, so interesting.  Everybody thinks-, they’re, they’re all-, everybody’s the hero of their own story.

PANEL: Did you do any legal preparation?

RICK HOFFMAN: Well, I had done many different-, I had done a series nine-, eight, nine years ago, Philly.  Which was a Steven Bochco series, it was on for eight years, with Kim Delaney.  And I did tonnes of research with trial law, legal-, you know, anything that had anything to do with legal jargon, witnessing a trial on my own.  And I had a-, I had a lot of experience-, I’m still out on parole, that’s a joke.  No, but I’m-, as far as legal stuff is concerned, I had, you know, watched tonnes when law-, Court TV was on, I watched crazy amounts of, of that.  So I feel kinda well versed in that world.

PANEL: Although, it’s always so much fun to have a character on a show that you love to hate, do you personally hope that viewers will get an opportunity to see your character in a sympathetic light, at some point?

RICK HOFFMAN: They’re going to earlier than I thought.  I had a conversation when I did get hired for the job, I was just so excited to have this job but Aaron Korsh, who is the creator, you know, when we had found out that we’re, you know, doing this, he had said, you know, ‘cause he had been a fan of Philly.  Which was years ago, and so he saw what they made the character in that, turn into, which was also a very-, not as twisted as Louis but, but, but, you know, a little ornery and just a real human being.  And Aaron told me right away, they were going to try to, you know, turn that corner quick and they, and they did, you know.  And, and also what-, what’s kinda nice about, just to add and not that-, this is just my own thought, I don’t know if this is interesting at all, but like also this is something I feel personally, I find a lot of comedy in all these like idiotic forms of behaviour.  I’m sure when you see-, I don’t know, for instance, I swear to God, this happened this morning, I’m at the gym, I’m going to the shower, I have my towel ready for me to go into the shower, I turn my back for maybe 15 seconds, to hop in the steam, I go back to the shower and there’s a guy in it and I, and I, and I open the curtain, I’m like, hey man, I’m sorry, that’s my towel, he’s like, no, it’s my towel.  What do you mean, it’s your towel, All right man, I don’t even have the energy to argue with a naked man, who’s towel-, so I said, all right, take your towel, so now I have no towel, but that’s not fair.  And that’s what I-, that the kind of stuff-, it’s like, you know, this guy thinks he’s good, how funny is that?  So somehow, to me, the comedy of it all, I can somehow-, that somehow, comes out as well in these characters, which hopefully makes you, love to hate him.  As opposed to just hate him.

RICK HOFFMAN: How you doing?

PANEL: Good.  Just curious, are you ever worried you’re going to get type cast as the douche?

RICK HOFFMAN: It’s-, that question, you can ask that to-, I would say, I don’t know, over 50 to 70 actors that are a lot more successful than I am that, that-, you know, I say, I run this to the-, into the ground until someone notices and then if someone just realizes that I can actually, you know, act and have a whole different range of, of things I can do, I think ultimately that-, you know, that happened to Paul Giamatti, it happens to Stanley Tucci, it happens to, you know, character actors, it’s hard enough o work, let alone, you know, pick and choose what they get to do, I think that time will come.  I’m-, you know, I feel like if I’m lucky enough, for this show to do well, I think you start to have a little bit more of the pick of the litter of roles.  But I'm sort of, you know, if I-, who wouldn’t pay to be pigeon holed, as a working actor on TV, to play these kinds of roles that have depth and-, so I’ll do it.

Be sure to tune into Suits. Suits airs on the USA Channel on Thursday nights at 10/9c. Special thanks to Rick Hoffman and everyone at the USA Network for making time. More information can be found below:

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