William H. Macy on Why the Portrayal of Violence in Films Is “Doing a Lot of Damage”

William H. Macy isn’t a fan of how Hollywood portrays violence on the big screen.

The Shameless star recently appeared on the Films to Be Buried With With Brett Goldstein podcast, where he proceeded to go on a “rant” after the host asked him about the worst movie he’s ever seen.

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“Oh, boy. I rarely get through them,” Macy said. “I think at the end of the day, one thing any story has to be is true. It’s got to be true to the human experience. And I think the test is if you put it out there and a couple of million people see it, that most of them recognize the issue and it moves them.”

The Oscar-nominated actor added that it “offends” him when movies aren’t depicting the truth.

“I guess the most obvious example — and I can see the will to live just fade from people when I get on this kick — but I think Hollywood is doing a lot of damage to the world with our portrayal of violence,” he explained. “It’s not true, and it’s not a good place to be lying when it comes to our portrayal of violence.”

Macy claimed his perspective has previously cost him some work. He even requested that a Western he was working on scale back the casualties in the film.

“When I first started off, there were nine bodies on page four, and I lobbied for us to go back to the real West and not to Westerns,” the Boogie Nights actor said. “Don’t imitate films.”

Macy pointed out that only four men died in the infamous 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral. (Encyclopedia Britannica reported three deaths.)

“It was the biggest thing. Four guys,” Macy added. “Most of the scripts you get, there’s four guys on the first page. You see them downtown blasting away in New York City. There’s not a cop to be seen. People get shot four times and they give a speech.”

The violence he’s seen depicted in Hollywood has also led the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes actor to develop his own idea for a show that he said he’s tried to sell several times.

“I wanna do a thing where, you take three episodes to have you fall in love with one of the major characters and then shoot him,” he said. “But don’t write him off the show. And every week, you can see what a bullet does to a human body. You can see how it wrecks his marriage. You can see how he gets infections. You can see how he has to learn to walk again or use his hands again. You can see the deep, dark depressions.”

Macy continued, “Let’s tell the truth about it, because I swear to God, you kill one person, there’s nothing more dramatic than that. You kill 18 people, it’s just porn. The only thing you can do to make that more dramatic is kill 18 more.”

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