William H. Macy has no problem channeling his inner wino.”It is more like a parlor trick,” the SHAMELESS star admits. “It ain’t acting.”
“As a matter of fact, one of the dangers in playing Frank Gallagher is that I walk away congratulating myself on being a great drunk — but I forgot to do the scene.”
I caught up with Macy in Los Angeles last week to learn more.
Q: Did playing this character change your own drinking habits?
What a great question! I haven’t been drinking recently. So I guess no.
Q: Is it easier to act drunk, than to be drunk and try to act sober?
Oh, God, yes! One time I went out with Josh Logan (“The Fervent Years”). He was in Chicago and was going to come see this theater I had started. He took us all out to dinner. He drinks like a fish. He got me (completely hammered). I only had two drinks, but they came in fishbowls. And I had the lead in the play he was about to see. And I stood on stage more miserable than I have ever been in my life. I was drunk as a skunk. I wanted to say “I will buy all of your tickets. Let’s just go home.”
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Q: As fun as it is to play Frank as a boozer, do you root for him to get sober?
Yeah. I am his biggest supporter. I love the guy. I think he is smart. I think he tells the truth when nobody else has he guts to. He is very hard working. He is an entrepreneur. And he is living his life absolutely his way. I am hoping we are going to do this show for many, many years. So I think there is room for many permutations of what Frank does. But yeah. I would love to see a couple of episodes where Frank is sober. But I think it is in the DNA of the show that Frank will always be loaded.
Q: Frank has already had such an incredible journey. What’s next?
There is a lot of great comedy in this season. I think at the core, the thing that makes the Gallagher family so appealing is that it is a family. And blood is thicker than anything. You can burn down the house. You can steal the car. You can take a job away. But if you try to split up the family, you will see ferocity like you have never seen before. And that is exactly what happens. I finally have to pay the piper for years of self abuse.
Q: Is it nice not to have to walk around with long hair anymore?
I sort of dig it. It is nice to change your appearance once in a while. This was drastic. But yeah, I am trying to look dangerous these days.
Q: BTW, do you ever run into the other Bill Macy — Maude’s husband?
Yes. I met Bill Macy. Lovely actor. Rest in peace. He was great on “Maude.”
Q: He is still alive!
I didn’t think so. I thought Bill passed away. [laughs] If you are still alive, Bill, please forgive me. I can’t wait to work together.
“Shameless” airs Sunday nights on Showtime.
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