BY ROYAL AP­POINT­MENT

Why Suits star Meghan Markle is the per­fect fit for her next role

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - By Holly Byrnes

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.”

SUITS

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.

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