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.”

People Talking About ...
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
On co-founding the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and the Practical Aesthetics Workshop; on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique
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
On appearing on ER; on his character on the show; on the live episode of ER
On the legacy of ER; on the film "Fargo"; on the films "Boogie Nights" and "Pleasantville"

Chapter 2

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

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
On the pros and cons of working together; on TV movies they appeared in; on the challenges of guest-starring on a TV series
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
On the film "Rudderless"; on how they help each other prepare for roles
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
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

ER

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William H. Macy on playing "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER
William H. Macy on the length of and medical details in ER scripts
William H. Macy on his ER character, "Dr. David Morgenstern"
William H. Macy on the live episode of ER
William H. Macy on returning to ER in its final season
William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER
William H. Macy on working with the ensemble cast of ER
William H. Macy on the legacy of ER

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER

Law & Order

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

Shameless

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William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
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)
William H. Macy on handling some of the shocking scenes that he has had to perform on Shameless
William H. Macy on his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher" falling in love in season 5
William H. Macy on playing his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher," as sober after many seasons of his character being frequently drunk
William H. Macy on the original British version of Shameless and meeting David Threlfall, who played "Frank Gallagher" on the British version
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter
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
William H. Macy on directing the season 5 episode of Shameless, "Tell Me You F**king Need Me"
William H. Macy on his hopes for the then-upcoming seventh season of Shameless
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
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

Sports Night

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

Thirtysomething

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

Advice

View Topic
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors

Characters & Catchphrases

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William H. Macy on playing "Dr. David Morgenstern" on ER
William H. Macy on his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher" falling in love in season 5
William H. Macy on playing his Shameless character, "Frank Gallagher," as sober after many seasons of his character being frequently drunk

Classic TV series episodes

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William H. Macy on the live episode of ER

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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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
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College

Criticism of TV

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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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular

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

Drama

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William H. Macy on the live episode of ER

Emmy Awards

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William H. Macy on his 1997 Emmy nomination for ER

Fame and Celebrity

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

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

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Fargo"
William H. Macy on the effects of being nominated for an Academy Award for "Fargo"
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Boogie Nights"
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
William H. Macy on his proudest career achievements and being "visited by the muse" on stage
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style

Pop Culture

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

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

Television Industry

View Topic
William H. Macy on his first experiences in film and television
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
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the challenges of being a guest star on a hit TV series
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on which television shows they are currently watching
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they've used their celebrity to champion causes
Professions

Actor

View Profession
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
William H. Macy on appearing in small roles on TV series early in his career
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
William H. Macy on what he likes about acting
William H. Macy on "being visited by the muse" while performing onstage
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles

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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles

Directors

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

Performers

View Profession
William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
William H. Macy on appearing in small roles on TV series early in his career
William H. Macy on his advice to actors for reading scripts
William H. Macy on what he likes about acting
William H. Macy on "being visited by the muse" while performing onstage
William H. Macy on the best advice he's received, and his advice to actors
William H. Macy on advice to aspiring actors
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles

Writers

View Profession
William H. Macy on his writing process with his writing partner Steven Schachter
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
Genres

Comedy Series

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William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
William H. Macy on Shameless
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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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

Drama Series

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

Medical Dramas

View Genre
William H. Macy on ER

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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

Felicity Huffman

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's favorite stories about Huffman

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)
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's favorite story about Macy

David Mamet

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William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
William H. Macy on founding the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and the Practical Aesthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Theater Company) with David Mamet
William H. Macy on the Practical Aesthetics acting technique, which he developed with David Mamet
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play

John Wells

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William H. Macy on working with showrunner John Wells on Shameless
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

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