William H. Macy interview: ‘Shameless’

“It feels good! I won’t lie to you, it’s really good,” two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy admits about his sixth and final Emmy nomination for Showtime’s “Shameless,” which wrapped its eleventh and final season earlier this year.

“It was so unexpected. I mean, our show has been running for 11 years and. I thought we’d sort of slipped away out of people’s consciousness, except for the fans who wanted to see how it ended. It felt wonderful, like a big fat cherry on the best cake anybody ever had,” he declares. Watch our exclusive video interview with Macy above.

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In “Shameless,” Macy stars as Frank, alcoholic father of six and unlikely patriarch of the dysfunctional Gallagher family. After eleven seasons, it became Showtime’s longest-running scripted series, culminating in an emotional series finale that aired in April, titled “Father Frank, Full of Grace,” which the actor submitted for Emmy consideration this year. In this swansong episode, written by Emmy winner John Wells and directed by Emmy winner Christopher Chulack, Frank is found unconscious by his family after another overdose. He is later taken to hospital and diagnosed with early-stage alcoholic dementia. As the Gallagher kids deal with their own personal problems, and Frank’s condition worsens, he contracts Covid-19 and eventually succumbs to his illness. His ghost then visits his family who have gathered for a final party.

“Shameless” has been good to Macy over the years. He won three Screen Actors Guild Awards (2015, 2017, 2018) for his role as Frank and earned an impressive five consecutive Emmy bids as Best Comedy Actor (2014-18), and a final sixth Emmy nomination last month. This year also marks his 15th career Emmy nomination overall with two previous wins (as lead actor and writer for the TNT movie “Door to Door”), and 24 years since his breakthrough Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role on the Coen Brothers’ dark comedy thriller masterpiece “Fargo.”

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Macy is candid when recalling how he felt on those final days on set, with his beloved character bidding farewell to his family and also to the show’s audience. “We had to keep it funny and light and on the other hand, I wanted it to be truthful and to have the weight that it really deserved,” he says.

“I didn’t know how to play so much of it and I felt comfortable with that because I thought that was the reality. You know, people don’t die twice. You only get one shot at it and I think it must be very bewildering and unknown territory,” Macy explains. “I was at times emotional about it, but we had a lot of work to do, because shooting that show was tough. I didn’t hit me until the final scene,” he admits. “Chris Chulack was directing and he said ‘Bill, look down at the camera, this is the last image of Frank Gallagher!’ I lost my shit. I just started blubbering like a baby.”

“It kills me now, but I had spent so much time with this guy and I loved him so much and with the family, and it was such a part of me it’s hard to remember what my life was before ‘Shameless,'” Macy explains, adding with a wry smile, “there’s a rumor out there used to be an actor!”

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UPLOADED Aug 18, 2021 12:13 pm