Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Macy is proud to be the drunken dad in ‘Shameless’

NEW YORK — On “Shameless,” William H. Macy plays the world’s most deadbeat dad.

He stars as Frank Gallagher, a boozy, shiftless grifter whose brood of six mix-and-match offspring (do any of them share the same mother?) care for one another and, by necessity, him. The oldest daughter, Fiona (played by Emmy Rossum), is the family’s de facto mom, a Wendy to Frank’s derelict Peter Pan.

“Derelict” is putting it mildly. Frank is abrasive, self-absorbed, scheming and delusional, a pickled patriarch whose most dignified moments find him passed out on the bathroom floor of the family’s ragtag South Chicago digs, or on a random street corner or maybe public park.

But somehow the family stays afloat, even with Frank dragging everybody down.

“For all the craziness they go through, it is a tight-knit family, an honest family that loves each other fiercely,” says Macy. “That’s what the show is about.”

Airing Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime, “Shameless” began its third season recently with Frank coming to in Mexico, not sure how he got there and with no funds or credentials to get himself home.

Ever the schemer, he figures out a way. Just as, this week, he figures out a way to score some drinking money: He volunteers to take a neighbor’s infant to the doctor for a scheduled vaccination, then spends the cash meant for the doctor at his favorite bar. He pricks the baby with a thumb tack to simulate a shot, and shares a few drops of his whisky to calm the baby’s crying.

“I pride myself on taking the script and saying, ‘I can DO this!’” says Macy, clearly gleeful at the depths to which Frank routinely sinks. “I take all the stuff the writers can shovel my way!”

Well, almost.

“Once or twice I’ve said, ‘Too much. Too despicable. It’s over the line,’” Macy admits with a laugh. “But it’s the writers’ job to push that line, to put every character in really uncomfortable situations. So we have a good, healthy tug of war.”

The show barrels along a path that is both heartbreaking and hilarious, while Frank sets the pace with his appalling level of substance abuse.

The series doesn’t glorify drinking, however riotously drinking is depicted. (Frank would be nobody’s choice as a role model.) And “Shameless” recognizes that, in a MADD-enlightened era, inebriation is no longer automatically a joke.

“But to claim ‘being drunk isn’t funny’ is not true,” Macy hastens to say. “Being drunk CAN be VERY funny!”

It surely has its funny moments thanks to Frank — and the guy who plays him.

“I flatter myself that, as an actor, I do a pretty good drunk,” says Macy, who, while acknowledging he’s on the wagon right now, can draw on “a little firsthand experience.”

He is careful to modulate Frank’s drunken state as the day wears on.

“For a scene that takes place at 11 o’clock in the morning, well, that’s a four-beer buzz,” he explains, “as opposed to 11:30 at night, when Frank’s speech is very slurred.”

Playing a drunk, which Macy deems less a thespian technique than “a parlor trick,” comes with pitfalls: A great impersonation of a drunk can distract an actor from the primary substance of the scene.

“But if I’m pretty clear what the scene is about, then I just add on the drunkenness — slurring or stumbling — and it takes care of itself.”

Wardrobe helps too.

“I wear the same clothes almost all the time,” he says. “And I pride myself on this, as does our costumer, Lyn (Paolo): I’ve never had a fitting. She has sent me pants with the top two buttons missing and the waist too big. So I put a belt on it, I fix it. With Frank, close is good enough.”

If Frank is reliably scruffy, there’s one big change coming up. As Macy displays at this recent interview, his hair, previously near shoulder-length, has been shorn.

“I cut it for the show. I cut it ON the show in a future episode. I won’t give away why,” he says. “And it was a daunting decision. I did have a great head of hair. I’d lived with it for three years, and I’d gotten used to it.”

Still, Macy isn’t the type to let vanity get in the way of a good role or a great performance.

Although he has achieved offbeat leading-man status in such films as “Fargo” (for which he landed an Oscar nomination) and the made-for-TV “Door to Door” (which he also co-wrote), the 62-year-old Macy has had a busy career on screen and on stage as a celebrated character actor.

But a few years ago, he got the hankering to headline a TV series.

By then his wife, Felicity Huffman, was flourishing on “Desperate Housewives,” Macy notes, “and she loved every part of it. I was jealous. I said, ‘I want to do TV, too!’”

So far, so good.

“I love ‘Shameless’ so much!” he says. “You get big stuff to do in scenes that are tough to do, with volumes of dialogue and a character who talks fast. You have to know your part inside and out. It really tests you as an actor, every single week. And I’m a better actor for it. I wish I’d done this earlier in my career.”

He mentions the book “The Outliers,” in which author Malcolm Gladwell advances the theory that if you practice something — anything — for 10,000 hours, you reach a key threshold of expertise. According to Gladwell, people recognized as experts have logged that length of service.

Count Macy, thanks to “Shameless.”

“It’s my 10,000 hours,” he says. And he’s hoping for thousands more.

___

Online:

http://www.sho.com

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 22 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

 
Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3