“Fargo” and “Shameless” Star Spotted in Poughkeepsie, New York
If you're not familiar with the name William H. Macy, I'd like to bet you've definitely seen his face. Growing up, I was most familiar with his performances in 1997's Air Force One alongside Harrison Ford, 2007's Wild Hogs with John Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence, and 2001's Jurassic Park III. Now that I'm older, I am much more familiar with some of his most major starring roles such as Frank Gallagher in Shameless, and Jerry Lundegaard in the 1996 hit Fargo.
The award-winning and highly decorated Macy is one of those actors that can just make an appearance anywhere, and guess what? He made a guest appearance in Poughkeepsie just recently!
Twelve drama students at Vassar College got the opportunity of a lifetime. Veteran actor William H. Macy offered to engage with the drama students on campus in part tp express his appreciation for the education his daughter is receiving at Vassar.
Macy delivered a three-hour class for the Vassar drama students. Not only did he impart words of wisdom on them, but Macy had several students perform shorts scenes from plays which they had chosen. He critiqued and offered suggestions for their performances. "Learn your lines, but you've got to act with your body. My friend Dave Mamet says words are gibberish that don't mean anything until you act them," was one of the nuggets of wisdom Macy shared.
Another thing that Macy stressed to the students was to give each role their own interpretation, and not just mimic something. "Bring the maximum amount of your own personality to the character. That's why we can watch Hamlet 25 times and it's still fresh; different actors bring different experiences to the character."
According to Larry Hertz's article, published on the Vassar College website, these are some of the main pieces of advice and observations Macy made:
- Never walk backwards on stage. Nobody does that in real life. Turn your back and talk louder.
- Never be bad. It’s OK to be the best actor in a bad show, but it’s better to be good in a small role in a good show.
- Violence in films today has reached disgusting proportions. I’ve shot off my mouth about this, and now I can’t get a role in a Marvel movie.
- Stay in touch with each other and with the many Vassar people in the industry.
- If you want to be in movies, you have to go to Los Angeles. If you want to be in theater, you have to go to New York or Chicago.
- Write. There are a lot of actors, but good writers are always in demand.
Macy was a bright and encouraging source. As he closed his master class, he told the students "See you on set... They're going to have to choose somebody. Why not you? Come ready to rock and roll."