April 10, 2009 / 8:29 PM / 10 years ago

William H. Macy sees new turn in career track

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Award-winning actor William H. Macy says his long career in movies, on stage and on television is in transition, moving him behind the camera as offers for acting roles have hit a lull.

William H. Macy arrives at the premiere of "The Deal" during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 22, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Macy is currently starring in low-budget comedy “Bart Got a Room” in U.S. art houses playing a hapless father whose son can’t get a date to his high school prom. But he soon expects to take his first stab at directing an upcoming film called “Keep Coming Back.”

“I’m transitioning a little bit,” the 59-year-old Macy told Reuters. “I’m at an odd age, and it’s hard to cast me. I’m not the grand old man, but I’m certainly not the young guy anymore. There aren’t that many roles that are scintillating.”

Macy has long been known in Hollywood as a hard worker who will take numerous roles in any given year. His filmography lists over 100 parts. He was nominated for an Oscar for his work in 1996 Coen Bros. movie “Fargo,” and he won an Emmy for television movie “Door to Door.”

But right now, Macy said he enjoys being a stay-at-home dad to his two daughters, ages 7- and 8-years-old, while his wife, actress Felicity Huffman, goes to work every day on TV comedy “Desperate Housewives.”

He said he took the role in “Bart Got a Room,” mostly because writer and director Brian Hecker would not take “no” for an answer.

“Independent films like this are made because of passion, and Brian would not let that go, nor would he let me go,” Macy said. “I liked the script immediately and told him so, but I had all sorts of commitments and time constraints. But God bless him, he made it work. And he held the film for me.”


“Bart Got a Room” tells a simple story of a high school senior, Danny, who finds himself on a desperate search for a date to his prom. Bart is the high school geek, and Danny figures if Bart can get a date and a hotel room afterward, then he should be able to, as well.

However, Danny is constantly overlooking the one girl who will go with him and trying to get the girl of his dreams. His divorced father (Macy) tries endlessly to help Danny, but seems clueless when it comes to his teenage son’s dilemma.

“One thing about being a parent is to keep showing up, and that’s what the dad does,” Macy said. “He keeps showing up.”

For many years, that same sort of ethic has marked Macy’s work. He shows up on set when asked and puts everything he has into a performance — no matter how large or small the role.

Back in December, when Jeremy Piven abruptly left the cast of a Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow” blaming mercury poisoning from eating too much fish, the director called up his old friend Macy and asked him to take over Piven’s leading role, along with another actor.

“I’d done Broadway before, but this was a big deal for me to go back. And because of the circumstances...I felt the pressure,” he said. “I was terrified for about the first 90 seconds, and then some grace descended...I felt comfortable. I looked around and thought, ‘I can do this.’”

Now, Macy is moving on to directing his movie that is still in the process of being fully funded, but he’s confident that even in this bad economy, the financing will come together.

“It feels like it’s my time. I want to take a shot at telling the whole story,” he said, “and it’s not clear I’ll be good at it, but that won’t be known until I try.”

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