Patrick J. Adams dishes on new anti-romance TV show

We talk to former Suits actor Patrick J. Adams about starring in new relationship drama Plan B coming to CBC on Feb. 27, his advice for finding true happiness and working the concession stand at Cineplex Odeon as a typical Toronto kid.  

So I thought this would be a nice romantic story for our February editions, but that does not appear to be entirely the case. Patrick, is that true?”

We sort of tricked you. I really thought I’d be headed for a more romantic thing. And I was really impressed that the show resisted that and, in fact, took a darker turn. So, no, not your standard February romantic fare.

What intrigued you most about the role of Philip Grimmer?

At the time I was really drawn to this concept of a perfectionist writ large — a guy who needs everything to just be just right — and on an almost obsessive scale. I don’t know, I related to that. I think at times in my life I have struggled with that same sense of if I can just get everything to be just the way that I think it needs to be, then I will be happy. But it’s got to be the way that I think it needs to be.

What does it say about the challenges of a relationship when a guy is given the ability to go back in time to fix mistakes and still struggles to get it right.

The problem with what’s occurring is if he had just, like, quietly stopped and listened to his wife, you know, taken her in, if they really just honestly assessed where they were at and figured out some workable solutions to get where they needed to go together. But instead, he becomes obsessed with his way of doing things. I don’t think there’s any problem in a relationship that can’t be faced if it’s just faced together — and honestly.

Were there some moments of personal introspection regarding your own relationship when working through Phil’s issues?

Yes, I mean, all the time. It’s very easy to go: “Well, this guy’s crazy. You know, he’s too much. And it’s a show about time travel, I don’t need to relate to this.” But I hope, I really hope audiences connect with it the way I connected with it, which is I just saw a ton of places where I could relate to how he was behaving, where I just moved into fix-it mode. If my wife is expressing to me the way she feels about a certain situation, I immediately just want to fix it. Let’s just fix it and clear it out of the way. And I have to be reminded: “Hey, not everything is here for you to fix. I’m not presenting you with a checklist of things to do. You just be present with what’s going on.” And that will make it better. And we can do a deal with it together.

What do you think people enjoy and appreciate most about the show?

I think our goal is that, first and foremost, they just do like we’re talking about: identifying pieces of themselves and their own behaviour and their own relationships in these two people. You know, this is a relationship drama. I think it’s set in a really interesting world with a really compelling device, essentially. But that’s all it is. It’s just a way to further explore these characters’ foibles and dysfunctions.

At least good old Phil never stopped trying.

I mean, it’s a good thing and a bad thing. He has good intentions. He just wants everyone to be OK. But in doing so, he makes everything so not OK. And the actual path to making everything OK would probably just be, like, “Stop, just stop.” Right? Just stop what you’re doing and pay attention.

Do you have a daily ritual?

I have a few. I would say the most important thing I do every day is meditate. That’s pretty recent, the last couple of years, but it’s changed my life.

What was your first Toronto job?

I grew up in Toronto, and I worked at my mother’s company. She owned a company called Computer Action that was up in North York. My real first job-job was working at a Cineplex Odeon movie theatre concession stand. The old York Theatre on Eglinton.

What’s the worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Give up.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Finding a place of acceptance, even in hard moments and even in the difficult moments, even at the moments that are very uncomfortable: having the capacity to just accept it for what it is and know that from it will come some lessons and I’ll be grateful for it at some point. So getting away from the struggle and resisting that any moment needs to be any different than what it is right now. I’m finding that it has created a lot of space in my life for joy.

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