What is William H. Macy’s Advice to Actors?

While speaking about how to “make it” as an actor, William H. Macy shares the advice he would give to actors, both new and trained.

William H. Macy has had quite a career since receiving an Oscar nomination for playing the hapless Jerry Lundegaard in the Coen brothers’ masterpiece Fargo. He has won two Emmy Awards, and has been nominated every year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series from 2014 to 2018 for his role as Frank Gallagher in Shameless (a role that is significantly different from his character in Fargo). While speaking with Vanity Fair about how to “make it” it in acting, Macy shares the advice he would give to actors, both new and trained.

Macy starts his answer by referencing an old Bette Davis joke about taking Fountain Avenue in Hollywood to avoid traffic, but follows it with some genuine advice on paying attention to detail. He says, “They say Bette Davis made it up, I don’t know, but somebody said, ‘What is your advice for a new actor in Hollywood,’ and she said, ‘Take Fountain.’ That’s excellent advice. But since that’s already been taken, I would say the only way to be correct in the large things is to be correct in the small things. Let the large things go hang. It’s boring, but be on time, and learn your lines. Put the rest in God’s hands.”

More: William H. Macy: “This may sound pretentious, but I am getting better at what I do every day”


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