BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT
Why Suits star Meghan Markle is the perfect fit for her next role
IT was the plot twist even Meghan Markle’s Suits boss and the show’s creator didn’t see coming.
The royal romance between Prince Harry and his actress fiancee has swept the world up in a new modern fairytale, but as their May 19 wedding approaches, Markle’s TV family have revealed how the secret relationship played out on set – and why she will be perfect for her next role.
Aaron Korsh, a former investment banker-turned-Hollywood screenwriter, knew Markle was special when she first auditioned for the part of paralegal-turned-lawyer Rachel Zane, seven seasons ago.
“We were having trouble casting that part,” Korsh tells TV Guide.
“With Rachel, the way the character was written in the pilot, it was a fine line to walk between being strong and forceful and also coming across as likable. Then Meghan came in and knocked it out of the park.
“For us, that sums up Meghan – the ability to be intelligent and a worthy force, but also to be kind and likable and funny. She manifested that in her audition and I don’t know if you know this, but Meghan’s real name is Rachel, which she told me after we’d cast her. It was part of what drew her to the character but just interesting how it all worked out.”
The role would prove a career breakthrough for Markle, whose previous CV was dotted with minor parts in movies and a spot on game show Deal Or No Deal.
Her Suits start partnered her almost immediately with another young actor, Patrick J. Adams, who played Mike Ross, a potsmoking savant, faking his way as a lawyer.
Their chemistry on screen has given the legal drama some of its signature sizzle, and produced some of the show’s raciest scenes her new Palace courtiers would almost certainly wish weren’t still swirling around the internet.
Korsh says Markle’s frequent trips to London to visit her famous beau gave management a clue she may be looking to make a graceful exit.
“At some point in the year, we needed to make a decision about what we thought would happen with Meghan by the end of [2016, six months after she’d met Prince Harry in a Soho nightclub],” Korsh says. Keeping her confidence, while also secretly thrilled their costar was “finding happiness and love in her life”, Korsh admits he “didn’t try to pry” about the burgeoning royal romance. With her on- screen character engaged to be married to Mike, Korsh and his team of writers were watching on with glee as her real life mirrored their TV plot. But if all things went to plan and Markle made the move to England to be closer to Prince Harry, the Suits team wanted to be ready to write her a happy ending. “Then [co- star] Patrick let me know he thought it was best for him to move on and leave the show, so we had plenty of time to work out a happy ending that didn’t require them breaking up,” Korsh says.
As the world would discover, Markle was also plotting to leave, secretly becoming engaged before her final scenes of season seven were to be filmed.
With media speculation about an impending announcement from the happy couple swirling, Korsh and co had a very big secret to keep. “Because her engagement news had not broken before we finished, we did not make a big deal out of Meghan leaving,” Korsh says. “Now I knew Meghan would be leaving when we were filming that last episode, so we all got to say goodbye to her in our own individual ways.”
When the Palace made her engagement official, the explosion of interest in the Suits star tested the whole production in ways they didn’t expect.
“You’re exposed to so much in this job, but one thing they did not prepare me for was if one of your stars marries the Prince of England. We just had to figure that one out along the way,” Korsh says.
And just like her audition, Korsh is convinced Markle will be “a natural” in her next role as princess. “Obviously I’m not an expert on that [royal] role,” he says. “I’m sorry to say, because we’re American, I don’t know that much other than watching
The Crown, which I love by the way, but look … I think she’s got incredible poise, incredible intelligence, charisma, warmth and charm. She’s a very smart person, she’s going to care about the role she’s stepping into. That’s why I think she’ll do so well in it. She’s got a large charitable bent, or inclination, and I think she’ll use her platform to do wonderful things in the world.”
8.30PM, THURSDAY, FOXTEL’S UNIVERSAL CHANNEL
Royal turn: Meghan Markle greets well-wishers in London and, left, with her Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams.