It would have been fun to try doing interviews for Everyone's Hero without letting anyone mention Christopher Reeve, just to see if it could be done. But the joke might have done an injustice to the Reeve family spirit, as everyone was so inspired to make sure Reeve's final film project saw completion. Reeve began directing the animated film before his death.
"I knew Chris," said William H. Macy. "Chris had done a film that I wrote a long time ago and that was a big boon to my fledgling writing career. I knew him in New York before that. And Chris and Dana's spirit is all over this thing so pretty much everybody that was contacted and said, "You want to make sure that this thing gets done?" Everybody said, "Yeah.""
Macy plays Lefty Maginnis, a rival baseball player who steals Babe Ruth's lucky bat. It's up to a young boy to retrieve the bat and return it to Ruth. "It's a lovely script. I like the simplicity of it and the beauty of it. Some of the Pixar films, you know, they've got those double entendres in it for adults, and some of the jokes truthfully I think when you're with your 6 year old you have to say, "Daddy, why is it funny when the cookie says eat me?" And you have to say, "Uhhh, because if you ate him he wouldn't be there, would he?" This doesn't have any of that in it. It's so pure and clean. It's about keep swinging, don't give up."
Beginning with commercial work, Macy has had a long career in voice work. "When I got into this business I financed my habit by doing commercials. And I was never big for the on-camera commercials, nor were they big on hiring me, but I did voice-overs and I've been lucky."
You may recognize Macy's voice from the Secret deodorant commercials, but when he does animated films, it's usually not the straight William H. Macy voice. "On the animations, usually there's something on it. Like Lefty has sort of a Chicago kind of thing, fast-talking, urban. Voiceovers for commercials, usually it's you. It's either the bright you or the sexy you or the quiet you or the intelligent you, but it's you."
As half of the tabloid couple Filliam H. Muffman, Macy is honored by his Stephen Colbert nickname. "It's great. We've called ourselves the Hacys and Muffmans for years."
Jokingly, Macy added that we journalists have seen more of Huffman than he has. "It's been something. She's doing this film, Georgia Rule, and she's doing Desperate Housewives. She's been doing it for a month and she has now gone I believe four weeks without a day off. Seven days a week for four weeks. And because Housewives is being so nice to her, they're compressing her days, so when she gets there she works all day. And Georgia Rule is a powerhouse of a script. I've read it and it's magnificent and she's got some serious acting to do in this thing, and she goes 12 hours. The other day I said, "I don't get it. What's keeping you on your feet?" And she said, "Gratitude.""
Huffman and Macy have both worked with Lindsay Lohan, Huffman in Georgia Rule and Macy in Bobby, leading Macy to a now well-publicized rant about professionalism in Hollywood.
'she's completely charming. Felicity says she's a huge talent. That girl can act. But you can't show up late. It's very, very disrespectful. I think what an actor has to realize when you show up an hour late, 150 people have been scrambling to cover for you. And there is not an apology big enough in the world to make 150 people scramble. It's inexcusable. It's nothing but disrespect. And Lindsay Lohan is not the only one. A lot of actors show up late as if they're God's gift to the film and it's inexcusable and they should have their asses kicked."
Macy blames the management, which only seems to allow such behavior in film. "Certainly there's a difference between theater and film. I love it when big fat movie stars go to the theater. I happened to witness one, one time. I"d just gone backstage and a big movie star out of his dressing room at the end of the show, this woman comes out and she says, "Hey! I"m your mother? Come back, hang up your costume. What's the matter with you?" He went and hung up his costumes. You don't mess with the Broadway dressers, boy. I worry about these young kids 15, 18, 20 years old who in the span of one year become millionaires and powerhouses. It's too much power for a kid that age to handle. And when these young actors are spiraling out of control and taking drugs and drinking too much, I think their managers and their agents are morally bound, and perhaps legally bound, to do something about it. And so often the managers and the agents cover for them."
The solution? "Fire them. Fire 'em. Fire 'em."
Preparing to direct a feature film, Macy won't tolerate that kind of behavior on his set. "I"m about to go into a high work situation. I produced a film, actually produced it, i.e. raised the money. It's called The Deal. It's a romantic comedy that I wrote with Steven Schachter who's going to direct it. It's me and Lisa Kudrow and we go to Bucharest in three weeks. It's based on Peter Lefcourt's novel of the same title. It's an outrageously good script, if I do say so myself. It's a great role for her and a great role for me, too. And then right after that I"ll start pre-production, which will be in November, for Keep Coming Back by Will Alditch. I"m directing and Salma Hayek's the only one who's set."
Looking back to the voice acting world, Macy is attached to Dreamworks' Bee Movie but is unsure of its status. "They say it's going to get made. I don't know. Yes, I"m doing it. It keeps getting put back and I"m not quite clear about what's going on with that."
Everyone's Hero opens Friday.