Meet Max Topplin: The Man Behind Pearson Hardman’s Most Genuine Associate

 

While on the set of USA Network’s Suits, we were treated to a few surprises – including some unexpected guests! One of them was Max Topplin, the charming young man who plays Harold, Louis Litt’s protégé (or, should we say, punching bag) at Pearson Hardman.

As Suits fans, we all recognize Harold from a few scenes here and there in season one, but here’s some good news: we’ll be getting much more of him throughout season two! Seeing him in the funeral scene with the pink ribbon on his jacket was a nice tease of just how much we’ll be seeing him.

The day we visited the set, we first ran into Max when we were finishing up our tour of the set with Patrick J. Adams, who proceeded to introduce us to Max and tell us he was going to be the next big break out star. We chose to believe Patrick, so when we saw Max walking into our boardroom interview station, we couldn’t have been more pleased.

Due to filming and production schedules, we only had a minute or two with him before he had to leave, but Max came back later in the day – again, to a rousing round of applause because, well, while he plays the awkward Harold so endearingly, the man is quite the comedian and a definite charmer.

Read below to find out everything he had to share about this upcoming season, his opinions on Louis, whether we’ll see Harold shine as a lawyer anytime soon, just how awkward things could get with Rachel and Donna and plenty more!

And if you want to hear more from Max, himself, follow him on Twitter @MaxTopplin. He admits he doesn’t know what he’s doing with Twitter, though, so help him out!

We heard theres going to be a lot more going on with your character this season. Could you elaborate?

It seems so, yeah.  Basically, I’m an associate as is Mike at Pearson Hardman and I take a lot of abuse from Louis Litt.  I see most people are having [to take some], but I take the most, definitely. So the character has grown kind of into the class clown of the office unfortunately.  So, like, they were [just] shooting a scene with me doing pirouettes and all sorts of you know ridiculous things.

Yeah, all sorts of shenanigans.  Let’s see… like for instance, I mean, ordeals with cats. He might be allergic, I’m not saying anything.  What else? It’s always something crazy with Harold.  He is, like I said before, the class clown but he takes himself very seriously and he tries really hard.  But you know he went to Harvard; he’s a smart guy but he might be a little socially awkward and not necessarily able to keep up with the rest of the associates and everyone else in the office.

Do we ever get to see him shine as a lawyer?

Uh, yeah, you know, not yet.  Hopefully soon.  Like in this episode that we’re doing right now, I get started on the case and then I totally make a fool of myself and the case gets taken away from me and given to someone else.  So, I mean, it’s a lot of that and hopefully that will work towards, yes, I’m a full-fledged legal associate, hear you roar.  But until then, it’s mostly getting kicked around.

What’s your favorite aspect of working on the show because now they’ve expanded your role particularly and added some more fun things to do?

Yeah, the improv! We’re given a lot of leeway, I find, and more than any other show that I’ve ever worked on including like some really raunchy crazy comedies.  The leeway we’re given just with going with the flow and creating dialogue that didn’t previously exist and they just allow us to play which is really nice.

Especially between me and Rick, and Louis Litt, they really allow us to go places! With webisodes, we were getting crazy with some of the, like my goodness, there was just some F-bombs thrown and I mean all kinds of things.  It was getting was frisky.  Yeah, my God.  So, yeah, that’s probably my favorite aspect.

And the writing is so quick it’s so, it’s smart that it doesn’t leave the audience outcast and if they don’t understand because maybe some of the characters, in my case maybe, we don’t understand the dialogue ourselves either.  Not me as an actor, I mean let’s be honest, I get every word I say.  But as the character Harold, you know. It’s fun; it’s a great show.  Do you like the show?  You better.

Is it just Louis that’s going to be kicking you around this season?

I think, you know, Mike is my confidant and friend, [so] he can get a little aggravated with me at times just because I’m not moving as fast as he would like maybe.  And then Rachel, I think, she feels bad for like, oh, I was hitting on her last episode real hard!  And, you know, just awkward stuff… making weird noises with my teeth and just things that I wouldn’t do in real life.

we I catch Donna, I can’t say where that would give something away, but I catch Donna doing something and there’s a fun [scene]. She treats me like a little boy, you know, and she’s kind of the mother figure I think around the office anyway.  I think I am technically a little younger than most people on the show so I think she treats me that way.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a scene with Gabriel actually.  Yeah Gabriel and Gina.  … Yeah, I haven’t had any scenes with them, but everyone else kind of takes me around.  So help me, you know, I might be a punching bag for them soon! Who knows.

Do you see your character stop being this punching bag at one point?

You know, funny you should say such a thing.  In one of the webisodes, I give it back to Louis.  It’s a really fun, fun segment where I kind of say hold on a sec. He gives me the leeway to do that where it’s a role-playing exercise that he does with me.  And I kind of step up to the plate and say “you know what? Screw you. I’m done with you,” as another character so not as Harold right.  So I can get up and do that.  But then he put me back in my place at the end of the webisode.  So hopefully soon he won’t have to put me back in the place at the end.

And hopefully a love interest, you know, that’s what I’m hoping for.  Because he tries with every, every lady.  He’s going for it.  And we were talking earlier like Team Rachel versus Team Jenny… Harold is just Team Women.  Like he just, he doesn’t care! Bring on Team Jenny, bring on Team Rachel.  Come on, let’s go.

You said that your character is kind of like a punching bag now. Don’t you get the impression that Louis was also the punching bag?  

Absolutely, I mean, let’s look at him… He definitely was bullied.  Just kidding, that was a joke!  But yeah, I think that’s kind of the cycle.

I don’t think Harold will, well I hope to say that Harold would never, treat people like that but that is probably the cycle. And in an episode, I think it’s episode three, you’ll see him go back to the grunt work and show everyone where he started and how he got where he currently is.

There was a great scene with Harold and the pink ribbon at the funeral. It was funny, but then you felt bad for him because he was coming from you know a good spot.

Yeah, Harold is a genuine guy that cares and that’s why he gets sh!t on so much, you know? Like, he’s not necessarily playing the game like everyone else I feel.  And so he cares and he’s there to be the honest genuine guy in the office when everyone else might be backhanding. So I think that’s also where a lot of the comedy comes from, put Harold in the situation where, let me think of a good situation…

For instance, just now we were shooting this scene where he asks an honest question: “since I’m not working on the case anymore, can I date the dancers?”  And he truly believes that he can date the dancers.  Okay, Max dating the dancers, let’s be honest it will happen, of course.  Harold dating the dancers, not so much.  So yeah I think it’s just the honesty and a genuine aspect of who he is as a person, that’s where the comedy arises.

How will Hardman change the mood around the office?

I think definitely the intimidation factor is there.  And even with someone like Louis. Louis can, because he’s not a partner yet, right, he can be put in his place by Hardman.  So it definitely changes the chemistry in the office.  I think Jessica also sometimes has to sidestep, you know, because now she is not the only person at the top of the food chain.

So yeah it’s a great addition to the cast.  [Actor David Costabile]’s fantastic! I mean, Breaking Bad! He was so freaking awesome and scary. He’s a good actor, he’s really cool, so I’m glad he’s on the show.

Do the webisodes actually lead into the season or are they totally peripheral?

Probably a little bit of both.  I mean they definitely are peripheral and you don’t need to see the show to enjoy them and vice versa. But there are some pullbacks from episodes that we’re using. And I’m not going to say anything, but the can opener might come back. So check out the webisodes for that. That’ll be really interesting.

 

New Episodes of Suits Air Every Thursday at 10/9c on USA.

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