William H. Macy

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the two-hour solo portion of his interview, William H. Macy describes studying acting with playwright David Mamet at Goddard College, and goes into detail about the acting method he and Mamet developed together: Practical Aesthetics. He tells the story of co-founding the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and the Atlantic Theater Company, before moving on to his early film and television work. Macy describes writing an episode of thirtysomething and appearing as "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER. He discusses his determination and ultimate success being cast in the film “Fargo,” and touches on other notable film roles in “Boogie Nights” and “Pleasantville.” He tells the story behind his TV movie Door to Door and then discusses his current role as “Frank Gallagher” on Shameless, including specific episodes, and writing and directing episodes of the series. He concludes by discussing his proudest career achievements and giving advice to aspiring actors. In their nearly one-hour joint interview, Huffman and Macy tell the story of how they met and the first time they appeared on stage together. They discuss the challenges of balancing their careers and their marriage, the pros and cons of working together, and their favorite stories about each other. They touch on TV movies they worked on together and conclude by sharing where they see themselves in ten years. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interviews on February 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

“When the camera’s rolling, when the curtain’s opened…I like the danger in it. It’s strangely one of the places I feel most comfortable.”

Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
11:04
On co-founding the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and the Practical Aesthetics Workshop; on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique
14:25
On his early film and television work; on co-writing an episode of thirtysomething; on working with writer/show creator John Wells on ER and Shameless
15:34
On appearing on ER; on his character on the show; on the live episode of ER
11:01
On the legacy of ER; on the film "Fargo"; on the films "Boogie Nights" and "Pleasantville"
11:14

Chapter 2

On the TV movie Door to Door; on Shameless; on his objections to the unrealistic way violence is depicted on television
16:45
On shocking moments on Shameless; on playing "Frank Gallagher" as sober; on meeting his British counterpart on Shameless
08:28
On writing and directing episodes of Shameless; on his hopes for the then-upcoming seventh season of Shameless
10:30
On what he likes about acting; on his proudest career achievements and career regrets
10:33
On the best advice he's received; on advice to aspiring actors
06:08

Chapter 3

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH FELICITY HUFFMAN AND WILLIAM H. MACY: On how they met; on David Mamet; on the first play in which they appeared together
10:57
On the pros and cons of working together; on TV movies they appeared in; on the challenges of guest-starring on a TV series
08:26
On starting a family together; on seeing each other in love scenes with other actors; on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
10:57
On the film "Rudderless"; on how they help each other prepare for roles
10:19
On watching each other's work and their own; on balancing their careers and their marriage; on their favorite stories about each other; on where they see themselves in ten years
14:45
Shows

Desperate Housewives

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's experience at the advertising upfronts for the first season of Desperate Housewives and how Macy helped her in a tough moment
01:21

ER

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William H. Macy on playing "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER
01:18
William H. Macy on the length of and medical details in ER scripts
01:49
William H. Macy on his ER character, "Dr. David Morgenstern"
03:12
William H. Macy on the live episode of ER
02:17
William H. Macy on returning to ER in its final season
00:39
William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER
00:21
William H. Macy on working with the ensemble cast of ER
01:11
William H. Macy on the legacy of ER
01:09

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER
00:21

Law & Order

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William H. Macy on appearing on the pilot of Law & Order, and the shooting style of the show
00:56

Shameless

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William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
03:05
William H. Macy on what Shameless is about and how it depicts sex (as well as his personal objections to the unrealistic way violence is depicted on television)
07:11
William H. Macy on handling some of the shocking scenes that he has had to perform on Shameless
01:20
William H. Macy on his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher" falling in love in season 5
01:21
William H. Macy on playing his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher," as sober after many seasons of his character being frequently drunk
03:04
William H. Macy on the original British version of Shameless and meeting David Threlfall, who played "Frank Gallagher" on the British version
02:40
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter
02:16
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter, and his character, "Frank Gallagher's" mother appearing on that episode
01:36
William H. Macy on directing the season 5 episode of Shameless, "Tell Me You F**king Need Me"
01:45
William H. Macy on his hopes for the then-upcoming seventh season of Shameless
01:03
William H. Macy on what his expectations were for the series when he first signed on to Shameless, and how he reads scripts to see if he's interested in them
01:57
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on what it's like to see their real-life spouse acting in love scenes, particularly when Macy's character on Shameless was in love
02:26

Sports Night

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night
01:07

Thirtysomething

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William H. Macy on co-writing an episode of thirtysomething in 1991 with his writing partner Steven Schachter
03:15
Topics

Advice

View Topic
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
01:42
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
02:34
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
03:08

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
William H. Macy on playing "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER
01:18
William H. Macy on his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher" falling in love in season 5
01:21
William H. Macy on playing his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher," as sober after many seasons of his character being frequently drunk
03:04

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
William H. Macy on the live episode of ER
02:17

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
William H. Macy on his first taste of show business: performing in his seventh grade talent contest after his brother taught him to play guitar
01:20
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
05:45

Criticism of TV

View Topic
William H. Macy on being proud of the way Shameless deals with sex and his personal objections to the unrealistic way violence is depicted on television
05:11
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular
01:23

Diversity in Television

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William H. Macy on the TV movie Door to Door, which he co-wrote and starred in, and which was based on the true story of Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman who had cerebral palsy
03:06

Drama

View Topic
William H. Macy on the live episode of ER
02:17

Emmy Awards

View Topic
William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER
00:21

Fame and Celebrity

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
01:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they've used their celebrity to champion causes
01:36

People with Disabilities

View Topic
William H. Macy on the TV movie Door to Door, which he co-wrote and starred in, and which was based on the true story of Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman who had cerebral palsy
03:06

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
05:45
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Fargo"
03:14
William H. Macy on the effects of being nominated for an Academy Award for "Fargo"
01:08
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Boogie Nights"
02:12
William H. Macy on his first taste of show business: performing in his seventh grade talent contest after his brother taught him to play guitar
01:20
William H. Macy on his proudest career achievements and being "visited by the muse" on stage
03:12
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the first production in which they performed together: David Mamet's play "Bobby Gould in Hell" at Lincoln Center
02:42
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style
04:00

Pop Culture

View Topic
William H. Macy on the live episode of ER
02:17
William H. Macy on playing "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER
01:18
William H. Macy on his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher" falling in love in season 5
01:21
William H. Macy on playing his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher," as sober after many seasons of his character being frequently drunk
03:04
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the duet they performed as presenters at the 2012 Golden Globes
01:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
01:55

Sex & Violence

View Topic
William H. Macy on being proud of the way Shameless deals with sex and his personal objections to the unrealistic way violence is depicted on television
05:11

Television Industry

View Topic
William H. Macy on his first experiences in film and television
01:17
William H. Macy on being proud of the way Shameless deals with sex and his personal objections to the unrealistic way violence is depicted on television
05:11
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
01:42
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
02:34
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
03:08
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the challenges of being a guest star on a hit TV series
01:25
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular
01:23
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on which television shows they are currently watching
01:33
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they've used their celebrity to champion causes
01:36
Professions

Actor

View Profession
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
05:45
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
06:52
William H. Macy on appearing in small roles on TV series early in his career
01:21
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
01:42
William H. Macy on what he likes about acting
05:09
William H. Macy on "being visited by the muse" while performing onstage
01:06
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
02:34
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
03:08
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33

Actress

View Profession
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33

Directors

View Profession
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style
04:00

Performers

View Profession
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
05:45
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
06:52
William H. Macy on appearing in small roles on TV series early in his career
01:21
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
01:42
William H. Macy on what he likes about acting
05:09
William H. Macy on "being visited by the muse" while performing onstage
01:06
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
02:34
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
03:08
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33

Writers

View Profession
William H. Macy on his writing process with his writing partner Steven Schachter
02:18
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter, and what he saw in the writers room
02:16
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
03:05
William H. Macy on Shameless
26:13
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night
01:07

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
William H. Macy on appearing on the pilot of Law & Order, and the shooting style of the show
00:56

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's experience at the advertising upfronts for the first season of Desperate Housewives and how Macy helped her in a tough moment
01:21

Drama Series

View Genre
William H. Macy on co-writing an episode of thirtysomething in 1991 with his writing partner Steven Schachter
03:15

Medical Dramas

View Genre
William H. Macy on ER
16:36

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
William H. Macy on the TV movie Door to Door, which he co-wrote and starred in
09:33
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play
01:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie A Slight Case of Murder, written by Macy and Steven Schachter
02:12
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the Showtime miniseries Out of Order, in which they both appeared
01:41
People

Felicity Huffman

View Interview Page
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's favorite stories about Huffman
02:40

William H. Macy

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on what Macy was like as an acting teacher (which is how they first met)
01:08
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's favorite story about Macy
02:43

David Mamet

View Person Page
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
05:45
William H. Macy on founding the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and the Practical Aesthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Theater Company) with David Mamet
06:03
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
06:52
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play
01:55

John Wells

View Interview Page
William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
03:05
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter, and watching show runner John Wells and the writers work
02:16

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