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William H. Macy turns seventy

NOf course, he can also play a priest (as in “The Sessions”), even one who makes himself useful as a sex assistant. Of course, he can direct smaller independently produced films (“Rudderless”, “The Layover”) and teach students in New York in an acting technique that he calls “Practical Aesthetics” that is supposed to have something to do with David Mamet, with whom he studied and for whom he stood on stage for the first time. But William H. Macy is not unique because of these talents. But because he can play ordinary men through and through like no one else. Everyone. White, medium-sized, kept short of life and the world with extraordinary gifts and always striving not to let it be noticed and to act as if he were playing in the top league of men who naturally take care of their patriarchal rites, even if they do someone else, his wife, daughters or police officers, have long been in charge.

Verena Lueken

William H. Macy has been playing these men since 1996 and he gives them an incredulous and friendly face in everything that makes them repulsive in the sense of: this is not a monster, just a petty bourgeoisie. It is a face full of astonishment that one’s own life is more of a course of bankruptcies, bad luck and mishaps than a successful ride of the righteous struggling. “Oh, jeez,” is one of the sighs that this man gives. Or “What the heck” because he doesn’t dare to say “what the f ***”.

“Fargo” – the role for which he was born

1996 was the year of “Fargo” for the brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and Macy’s first starring role as Jerry Lundegaard, the car dealer who failed to sell his goods so successfully that his father-in-law took over the business heard he would respect him. So Jerry has his wife kidnapped, which is not only the logical solution to his problem in his imagination, but also a completely risk-free undertaking, a just one on top of that. Because of course nothing should happen to her if the father-in-law pays the ransom. Must it be mentioned that everything is different?

After the success of this role, for which Macy, as he once said, was “born”, it was clear who he would be playing since – the average American, unmasked and only because of that, in all his misery, not completely contemptible. He has also played this role on television for nine years, in the series “Shameless” as Irish father Frank Gallaher, who has long since given up on the ambitions that Jerry Lundegaard still had and drinks uncontrollably, always. What else is there for an unsuccessful man these days? This Friday, William H. Macy’s seventy.


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