William H. Macy on ‘Shameless’ and How He Can’t Stand “Bullsh*t” Violence in TV & Film

william-h-macy-shamelessActor William H. Macy of Shameless fame has given Vulture sometime out of his busy schedule to discuss his hit Showtime series that everyone is talking about. 

Talking about what makes the series such a hit, Macy says that its the show’s truthful storylines.  We “ride that line of propriety, and sometimes we’ve fallen over it, we’re pretty good at landing on the correct side of it. We tell the truth about what’s going on. And the whole through line with Louise Fletcher [who played Frank’s mom, Peggy Gallagher] — wow. I was the luckiest guy to get to act that story. I just love that we get a little more insight into what made Frank Frank. And perhaps a little more sympathy for how sociopathic he is.”

While he does walk a fine line with his morally lacking alter ego Frank, Macy draws the line when it comes to violence, picking his roles carefully.  “We’ve [Macy and his wife Felicity Huffman] turned down parts in most of the really violent stuff. I can’t stand violence. I mean, I’m okay with violence as long as you tell the truth about it. It’s a big part of our lives, not just our culture. But I don’t like bullshit violence where there are seventeen bodies on the ground and nary a cop to be seen, or no price to be paid. I’m adamantly against censorship — this is more of a self-imposed thing. You don’t do the movie if the movie doesn’t tell the truth. Not to say that you can’t do fantasy; I mean the emotional truth. And sex is good. I believe even bad sex is good. It’s just that violence is bad. Even mild violence can be bad, if you’re just watching good wholesome kids be sent out to get killed.”

If fans are hoping that Macy will be writing an episode soon they will have to wait.  The 62 year-old actor, who wrote episode six of this past season, won’t be penning any more storylines anytime soon, focusing on his character instead.  “I was surprised at how tough it was. It’s too complicated for me to wear both hats, because I just show up and all this lovely stuff has been written for me; our team can regularly turn out ten, fifteen pages in a day without breaking a sweat. That would put the lowest budget indie film to shame.”

While he jokes about his foray into the world behind the camera, Macy also plans to direct at some point in his career.  “It’s my most fervent hope to direct a film, and I don’t know why I’m having such difficulty with it. I’ve gotten to the eleventh hour three times with Keep Coming Back, and each time the money fell out and broke my hear.  Directing television is a rarefied thing. The actors often know more about the script than the director. I would never say never, but it probably won’t be until season five, six, seven. For the time being, it would be rough, because I would need two or three weeks of prep, location scouting, two weeks of editing, and I would be acting at the same time, so it would be double duty. Life’s too short and I’m too old!”

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