Comparing Frank Gallagher, the drunken neglectful father from Shameless, Jerry Lundegaard, the timid pathetic car salesman from Fargo, and Senator Ortolan Finistirre, the rough anti tobacco senator from Thank You For Smoking, would seem like an impossible task if all three characters weren’t played by the same actor. Range is something that William H. Macy seems to effortlessly wield as an acting tool as he jumps from unique role to unique role. Starring in award winning films, Fargo and Thank You For Smoking, and guild pleasures alike, Wild Hogs and Mystery Men, William H. Macy has proven to the world what a talented actor he is.
After seeing an actor in a number of different role, most actors (even some of the best ones) falling into their own specific wheelhouse. I am not saying that most actors are pigeon holed but after a while, all of their roles have a sense of fluidity to them. I always feel like there is something that links the actors’ characters and their styles together. Somehow, Macy seems to be able to wipe those links away. It took me a very long time to see how talented an actor Macy is. It really wasn’t until I saw him in Shameless that I took a step back and realized why I had never before noticed Macy like I was noticing him now. The first time I saw Macy on the big screen was in the movie Mystery Men (which will ALWAYS be a personal guilty pleasure) but the first time I really saw him shine was when he teamed up with the Coen Brothers in the film Fargo. Playing a desperate man driven to stage a kidnapping of his own wife, Macy is joined by Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi in this dark comedy. The next time I remember seeing him show his true talents was in Jason Reitman’s Thank You For Smoking where his brilliant performance was matched by ones from Aaron Eckhart and J.K. Simmons. The reason I never fully noticed Macy’s true brilliance in these roles was because he was matched by equally brilliant performances. In each amazing performance I had seen him in, William H. Macy had been surround by other amazing performances, cast with a number of actors with the ability to steal the screen.
Oddly enough, it was Macy’s switch move to television that really sparked my interest in him. I had seen Macy in many great roles before he stared on the American version of Shameless but never before had I found him to be so unrecognizable. It wasn’t that he didn’t look like himself; it was the fact that he had ceased being William H. Macy and had become Frank Gallagher. Quite often, the move from film to television marks the downfall of a stars career. The move to television had no effect of Macy in fact, as he went on to play what is my favorite role he has ever stared in. Bringing the talent he has displayed throughout his career, Macy steals ever single scene Frank appears in, making the show one of my current favorite shows on television.
I hope this is clear by now but my appreciation for William H. Macy has snuck up on me over the last couple years. He is a great actor that has left behind a string of amazing performances. If you like William H. Macy and aren’t watching Shameless, you are missing out on one of his most amusing and impressive performances. I do not believe that Frank Gallagher is going to be Macy’s last performance which only begs one question: What could the future give us from William H. Macy.