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Felicity stars as "Lynette" on ABC's new sensational and award winning series "Desperate Housewives". Huffman earned a 1999 Golden Globe nomination for her work on the acclaimed ABC Television comedy Sports Night. Most recently on television she starred in the Showtime drama Out of Order, opposite Eric Stoltz. Huffman's film roles include the recently released hit comedy, Raising Helen. Other feature film credits include the upcoming releases Christmas with the Kranks and Transamerica, as well as Magnolia, Arlington Road, The Spanish Prisoner and Reversal of Fortune. On stage she has appeared on Broadway in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, and has worked alongside her husband, William H. Macy, in such plays as The Three Sisters and Boy's Life. In 1997 Huffman won an Obie for Mamet's off-Broadway production of Cryptogram. She is a founding member, with Macy and Mamet, of the Atlantic Theatre Company. Additional television credits include regular roles on Frasier, Law & Order, The X-Files, The West Wing and Chicago Hope. She has also starred in a number of movies for television, including Path to War, A Slight Case of Murder, Door to Door and Reversible Errors. Huffman was born on December 9, 1962, in Bedford, New York. She has one older brother and six olders sisters. Felicity Huffman graduated high school in 1981 from the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, where she majored in theater. She married to actor William H. Macy, and they have to children, the first child, Sofia Grace, was born August 1, 2000 and her second daughter Georgia Grace was born 14 March 2002 in Los Angeles.
Desperate Housewives Felicity Huffman
HOUSEWIVES STAR SLAMS 'CATFIGHT' RUMOURS
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES star FELICITY HUFFMAN has slammed reports the show's lead actresses don't get on.
Huffman and Eva Longoria were relative unknowns when the suburban drama hit TV screens last year (04), while Teri Hatcher , Marcia Cross and Nicollette Sheridan had garnered fans in past television hits LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES IN SUPERMAN, MELROSE PLACE and KNOTS LANDING respectively.
Huffman explains, "The minute you put five women or any other number of women together, I think people think of cat fights and divas and that kind of stuff.
"Teri's had a lot of success and Marcia was on that incredible show, so maybe people think there would be jockeying for position."
But Huffman, 42, insists the actresses' middle-ages has helped.
She says, "The good side of being older and having been around the block once or twice is you know that doesn't fly, and it doesn't have longevity.
"That's the way to kill the show and kill your enjoyment of it. Everyone has a vested interest in getting along."
Felicity Huffman: Thank$, gang
In other news from Wisteria Lane, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria are getting $250,000 "thank-you" bonuses from ABC, a source close to the show says. Housewives supporting players Nicollette Sheridan and James Denton also were given significant bonuses, with the rest of the cast receiving lesser amounts, USA Today reports.
ABC's 'The View' gets 'Desperate'
The ladies at "The View" are getting pretty desperate. During the week of Feb. 7, the five stars of "Desperate Housewives" will co-host ABC's "The View" while the show broadcasts from Los Angeles. Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Nicollette Sheridan, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross will each join the daytime talk show for a day.
The Wisteria Lane residents will be filling in for "The View" moderator Meredith Vieira, who will not be making the trip from New York to Los Angeles due to family obligations.
Broadcasting live from Disney's El Capitan Theater, the week is a themed series called "The View Celebrates Los Angeles."
On Sunday, Hatcher won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV comedy or musical. The ABC show also won for best comedy or musical TV series.
The other hosts of "The View" are Barbara Walters, Star Jones Reynolds, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The show airs weekdays on ABC.
Felicity Huffman: Love, Work and Hollywood marriage
Felicity Huffman is on her cell as she enters the restaurant for an interview. She's talking to husband William H. Macy, who's half a world away filming the adventure "Sahara."
As parents of two young daughters, the acting couple try to juggle their busy schedules so only one of them is working at a time. Occasionally, however, they end up working at the same time -- even on the same project.
Such was the case with the crime thriller Scott Turow's "Reversible Errors." The CBS miniseries, which also stars Tom Selleck and Monica Potter, airs Sunday, May 23, and Tuesday, May 25 (9 p.m. EDT).
Huffman, 41, portrays Gillian Sullivan, a disbarred judge whose drug abuse and ethical violations have landed her in prison.
"I look like hell in this movie. Which is fine," says the forthright Huffman.
Wearing a T-shirt, jeans and smoothed blond hair, she looks considerably better this day, although she apologizes for not being able "to get all dressed up" because of family demands.
Macy, 54, plays Arthur Raven, a big-time corporate lawyer who is grudgingly assigned to a pro bono appeal for a man on death row claiming innocence. While unraveling the truth, Raven tracks down Sullivan. She not only had sentenced his client, but was also someone he once had a secret crush on.
Huffman insists she still harbors some surprise that in real life Macy "chose me ... You could have knocked me down with a feather. I had a bad perm and glasses and I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now."
The Macys have worked together in "a bunch of plays," the movie "Magnolia" and on the ABC sitcom "Sports Night."
"It's actually one of the things we do best. We work really well together, which is surprising because I know it's tough for couples to play tennis together, much less work together," says Huffman.
"I'm not competitive with him at all. I think he's one of America's greatest actors and so you sort of go, 'Well, you cornered the market on that. That's cool,' " she says. "He's able to help me and coach me and I don't get my nose out of joint."
Furthermore she insists, "Bill's very kind and not judgmental ... and I am not kind and I'm very judgmental!"
'All facets of a diamond'
The script of "Reversible Errors" was "sent to Bill first," she says, as is usual. "Then he says, 'Cast my wife, please.' "
She wasn't cast until the day before rehearsals started, but was "thrilled to get a job without auditioning," even though it meant moving the entire family from Los Angeles to Canada on short notice for the shoot.
"Felicity is capable of playing all facets of a diamond," says co-executive producer Frank von Zerneck. He noted how Huffman's character transitions from "a cold, tough cookie, smart as whip with no cracks in her exterior to ... this injured bird with a broken wing, vulnerable, frightened."
"This is someone who fell, fell, fell," says Huffman. "He (Raven) remembers me from my glory days ... so he's intrigued and sort of pursues me, even though I'm so damaged."
Huffman, the youngest of eight kids, grew up in Aspen, Colorado, in a family "mostly into horses." She did her stint as a polo groom for several summers, but had already been hooked by acting.
She starts to explain that her mother was "an actor, or an actress ..." She interrupts herself to query, "Do you find that actresses only say 'actor' now? I like the word 'actress' ... it's much cooler than 'actor.' "
Point taken. Back to the personal history. "I guess I was loud and obnoxious," she said, reasoning that's why her mother sent her to the Stage Door Manor camp when she was only 10.
Later she studied acting in both London and New York, where she met Macy.
Huffman co-stars in the upcoming Kate Hudson movie, "Raising Helen." She has also filmed "Desperate Housewives," a pilot on ABC's fall schedule in which she plays "a crazed mother of four."
This month it will be Macy's turn to stay around Los Angeles with the kids as Huffman starts work on the independent movie "Transamerica," playing a transsexual who discovers that as a man he fathered a son.
The role required her to study how men who undergo the transition learn to move in a more feminine way. To illustrate, she walks around the Hollywood restaurant patio swaying her head, cupping her hands to make her arms look shorter, pointing a toe, only keeping the weight on one thigh.
Actor or actress, it was a convincing performance.
Felicity Huffman stars in ''Desperate Housewives''
The best new TV show this fall: ABC's "Desperate Housewives." Premiering at 9 p.m. Sunday on WTAE-TV, this one-hour drama is really more of a dark comedy about the lives of four women living on suburban Wisteria Lane. It's a little bit "Knots Landing," a hint of "Melrose Place" and even some of the mystery and weirdness of "Twin Peaks." But comparisons are pointless, "Desperate Housewives" is its own unique concoction.
The series begins as the life of seemingly perfect housewife Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) ends. After "quietly polishing the routine of my life until it gleamed with perfection," she shoots herself. Her body is discovered by a nosy neighbor (Christine Estabrook) who keeps the blender she'd borrowed from Mary Alice.
Though deceased, Mary Alice continues to narrate the series from the afterlife, commenting on the actions of the other neighborhood women with whom she used to share coffee.
Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher) is a divorced single mom who's interested in Mike Delfino (James Denton), a single plumber who just moved onto the street. But slutty Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan) asks Steve to "take a look at my pipes" first.
Then there's Mary Alice's mourning family and the questions that pile on top of one another: Why did Mary Alice kill herself? Was someone blackmailing her? What does her husband know?
Although Sunday's premiere is darkly comic and does tantalize with secrets yet to be revealed, the only truly risque story involves the extramarital affair between ex-model Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) and a 17-year-old gardener (Jesse Metcalf), but very little is shown of their actual coupling.
"I feel like 'Sex and the City' has done a lot of that stuff. It's not in my nature to be particularly salacious," said series creator Marc Cherry, "and also because my mom's going to see it."
Cherry's mother, Martha, was the inspiration for "Desperate Housewives." In 2002 he watched coverage of the trial of Andrea Yates, the Texas woman convicted of drowning her children in their bathtub. Cherry turned to his mother and expressed his disbelief that any woman could hurt her own kids.
"My mother took her cigarette out of her mouth and turned to me and said, 'I've been there,' " Cherry recalled. "And you must understand that I always thought of my mom as the perfect wife and mother, a woman who, I felt, had aspired to nothing more than to be a wife and mother."
She began to open up about her experiences raising children on a farm while her husband was off getting a master's degree.
"She had no help and no neighbors or anything, and she was having little mini-breakdowns," Cherry said. "Suddenly it occurred to me, well, gosh, if my mom has these moments, every woman has had a moment where she's close to losing it. So, truly, as I started talking to her and finding out these things, the genesis of this idea was born."
Other desperate housewives include former career woman Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), who tries to parent four unmanageable children while her businessman husband (Doug Savant) is often away. Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross) takes the pursuit of perfection to new heights, and her teenage son accuses her of "running for mayor of Stepford."
What makes "Desperate Housewives" so much fun is that as ridiculous as some of the scenarios are -- Lynette wading into a pool in black mourning dress to discipline her unruly brood; Susan purposefully clogging her sink so Mike has something to repair; Bree presiding over a gourmet meal when her family just wants "normal" food -- these scenes are also rooted in truth. Sure, the show offers a heightened reality, but it's not too far-fetched.
Huffman said that's part of what appealed to her about the script. She could relate to the predicament of her character, a former businesswoman who left the rat race to raise children.
"There's one way to be a mother, and that's basically to go, 'I find it so fulfilling, and I've never wanted anything else, and I love it, and spending all day with my children is fantastic.' And if you do anything that diverges from that, you're considered a bad mother," she said. "And I didn't know this existed until I became a mother, and the pressure is phenomenal. When you come out and go, 'Wow, I came this close to smashing my kid against the floor' or 'I lost it four times today,' you aren't received by people going, 'Oh, my God, I know.' What I really appreciated about this character is it gave voice to that other experience. If you're fulfilled, fantastic. But if you're not, that also has to be OK."
Like several other recent drama successes ("Gilmore Girls," "7th Heaven," "American Dreams," "Six Feet Under"), this one-hour show is from a producer whose primary past TV experience was writing for half-hour sitcoms. Creator Cherry wrote for NBC's "The Golden Girls" and more recently "Some of My Best Friends" and "The Five Mrs. Buchanans."
Thematically, he said, "Desperate Housewives" draws inspiration from the Shakespearean quote, "Sweet are the uses of adversity," from "As You Like It."
"I just think it's in the desperate times that you achieve any kind of personal growth," Cherry said. "You get to find out who you are and what you're about."
He said the women of Wisteria Lane get together and share stories, but at the point the series begins, they don't really know each other.
"The series for me will be a process of watching these women slowly learn about each other, growing together," Cherry said.
Another theme: The choices people make in life, and what happens when they get what they want and are still unhappy?
"All these women have chosen this life, and [things] are going wrong," Cherry said. "They're making some bad choices, which is where the fun comes from."
His mother, Martha Cherry, inspired the Bree and Lynette characters most, including his mother's frequent saying, "Oh, let's not be unpleasant," which sounds like something Bree would say.
In the pilot, Bree's husband has an allergic reaction to food and must be hospitalized, a scene inspired at least in part by Cherry's childhood recollections. Toward the end of his parents' marriage, when they were not always on the best of terms, Cherry's father would suffer occasional heart attacks and his mother would drive him to the hospital. One morning, he found his father downstairs waiting to be taken to the hospital while the mother made their bed.
"Well, it's the start of my day," she replied when Cherry pointed out his father was waiting.
"And she just did the little crease under the pillows," Cherry recalled, "and I remember thinking, 'Oh, wow, she really doesn't care if he makes it to the hospital.' ... She's absolutely lovely, but she will put a smile on her face as she deals with you in an aggressive way. It was some of those elements that I was taking when I was [writing] Bree. Martha Stewart didn't enter my mind. It's Martha Cherry."
Talking with Felicity Huffman, who's in new TV series '' Desperate Housewives''
Knowing what you want is half the battle. And actress Felicity Huffman is one woman who has defined those priorities, once and for all.
She wasn't always so sure. Now the mother of two little girls, 1 and 2 1/2, and happily married to actor William H. Macy ("Fargo"), Huffman says, "My dream is I would really like to keep working. I don't need a huge career but would like a steady career that leaves me time for my children. My dream is to have a successful family."
Huffman is best remembered as the stressed TV producer on "Sports Night" and for recent guest shots on "Frasier," as well as films like "Magnolia," "Arlington Road" and "Reversal of Fortune."
And while she adores Macy, they actually broke up for five years before finding each other again.
"I think life changes were happening for us both at the same time," says Huffman.
"Bill was starting a new era in his life. He bought a house here and I think the real thing was a mutual friend of ours in London died suddenly, a wonderful man who was the editor of GQ in London. He died suddenly and it was so shocking to both of us.
"It was one of those experiences where you go, 'Jeez, what am I doing with my life? Am I wasting my life? What do I want to do and who do I want to be with?' We both turned to each other and said, 'I want to be with you.' And that sort of woke us up."
The busy actors have worked out the logistics of their lives together (he gasses up the cars, she does "more of the baby stuff") and they manage to balance two careers with two lively little girls.
Nothing could be more different from Huffman's new role in Showtime's "Out of Order," a series premiering June 1 and then airing Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). In this domestic saga of a dysfunctional marriage, Huffman plays a wife suffering from clinical depression who self-medicates on pot and liberal doses of gin. The fact that she's a screenwriter with her husband only complicates matters.
Huffman, who is the youngest of eight children (seven daughters), says she met Macy while she was studying with playwright David Mamet, a longtime friend of Macy's.
"I started taking acting seriously, I'd been studying for almost 10 years by then," she recalls. "So I started taking it seriously and it got me involved in the Atlantic Theatre Company (which she co-founded with Mamet and Macy). And that changed me as a person because that was a group of people whom I lived with day in and day out for 10 years. It was like group therapy. Those people know you inside out and, because you're working with them, they call you on your stuff."
The 40-year-old actress, who describes herself as a high-strung, spoiled child, found a steadying force in Macy.
"Getting married to Bill changed me in that I learned to trust someone and lean on someone else," she says, "Before that it was always 'I can do that myself. I can do it by myself, I don't need you.' . . When I got married I was so sad because I wasn't a girl anymore. I learned to mourn the loss of my girlhood yet I learned to embrace womanhood in a partnership which always before felt like a handicap instead of a strength."
The most difficult time for her was between the ages of 29 and 33, she thinks. "I kind of hit the bottom," she says a bit mysteriously. "I was working a little bit here and there. When I was 31 I blew out my knee and didn't work for a year. It was a really dark time that I needed to go through and it was incredibly beneficial, but it was no fun."
Her family has always been supportive of her decision to be an actor. Her father, who worked for Morgan Stanley in New York, died eight years ago. But her mother, who's 80, still manages to see every one of her daughter's plays.
Combining motherhood and acting is still the biggest challenge in Huffman's life. "I find raising children - it's like that poster: it's the most difficult job you'll ever love," she says.
"I just think that's a wonderful way of saying it. My heart breaks open every day and at the same time, I'm brought to my limit almost every day. And there's really nothing else you can say that about ..."
Felicity Huffman: Getting It All in "Order"
Showtime's original series Out of Order looks at the beauty and brutality of a long-term Hollywood marriage. We talk to cast members Justine Bateman, Felicity Huffman and Kim Dickens.
Created by the husband/wife writing team of Wayne and Donna Powers, Showtime's new dramedy Out of Order focuses on Mark (Eric Stoltz) and Lorna (Felicity Huffman), a successful husband/wife screenwriting team who live in Los Angeles, have been married for 16 years and have a nine-year-old son.
In Mark's mind, his life plays out very much like a movie--but he watches it spiral wildly out of control when Lorna is diagnosed with clinical depression. Clinging to whatever shred of a relationship he still has with his wife, Mark watches helplessly as Lorna turns to drugs and alcohol. Although he has always been faithful to Lorna, Mark finds himself increasingly attracted to Danni (Kim Dickens), the mom of one of his son's soccer teammates--and lurking in the picture is Mark's neighbor Annie (Justine Bateman), whose blatant come-ons may just wear him down.
Hollywood.com spoke with this trio of ladies in Mark's life played by Huffman, Dickens and Bateman and asked them about what the show means to them, how they were inspired by its well-written story and how although they all like their jobs a lot--none of them has aspirations to write.
What's your take on what the show is about?
Kim Dickens: It deals with modern-day contemporary life, as it is in Hollywood, California, at least. It deals with contemporary marriages, long-term marriages. Choices, infidelities. Depression. Things people contend with that don't really get addressed in storytelling. You see these people sort of struggling through life's daily challenges. People make choices to alleviate their own suffering. And sometimes they make choices that aren't really condoned by society.
Felicity Huffman: It's a good thing you ask me what my perspective is about the show, because I think actors, no matter how objective they are, are really subjective and talk more from the perspectives of their characters. So on that, I think it's a look at marriage, a modern-day marriage, from the guy's point of view, in this case Mark, whose played by Eric Stoltz. And how his world gets turned upside down. He is forced to make a new life with all the same old material.
How do your characters fit in?
Justine Bateman: I play sort of the troublemaker in the neighborhood. [Annie] says and does whatever comes to mind, she really doesn't have a filter--and this often begins "little" problems.
Huffman: Lorna has a very specific voice. I think that's one of the things Wayne and Donna have done really well, is write three-dimensional characters. What I think makes this project interesting is that all the characters are made to be sympathetic as well as not sympathetic at the same time. There are angles you look at them and say 'Awww, poor guys' and then there are angles that you look at them and say 'Yuck! Who'd want to be with them?' So, it's not your typical, he's the good guy and she's the bad one. And here's the funny guy and here's the stupid person. It's much more complex than that. It's kinda like life.
Dickens: You end up having compassion and understanding for all sides of the coin, you know? My character Danni is not really a slutty character, a homewrecker or a malicious character in any way. She's a homemaker whose husband works really hard and she's home taking care of her kid. She's really a cool person, an independent spirit.
What about your roles inspires you?
Bateman: I thought the writing was really good and when the writing is good, I don't have to work very hard, it all flows together. When something isn't written well, that's when I have to work my hardest to try and make it cohesive. When someone says, "I didn't like your project," I say, "It wasn't my project, I didn't write it. I just tried to make it work." For me it comes down to that, and the writing is really good on this.
Huffman: I always take everything from the script. If the story is told well and the scene is written well, what the actor has to do is get out of its way and tell the truth. That's my job. My inspiration came from the script. It had all the information I needed. Do I know what's it's like to have a fight with someone? Of course, and [Wayne and Donna] wrote that scene very well. Do I know what it's like to breakdown and not have your life they way you thought it would turn out? Yes, I do. If the script's written well, we look good."
Is working in a Hollywood milieu easier? Will we get an inside view?
Dickens: Most of the other times I've dealt with subject matter that is more for the everyman. So it's been fun to do this--"real" life and "reel" life--but then you think, we are really representing a very specific little circle of people. It's not like that in New York and it's certainly not like that in Kansas.
Bateman: We do have the advantage of living in Los Angeles. We can say, "Yeah, this is what the women in the Palisades are like." But I think the "laymen" are pretty savvy now. I think years ago if you did a film which spoke in that Hollywood code, people wouldn't get what was being said. But I just don't think that's the case anymore. There are so many entertainment magazines and Web sites like yourself, I think everybody is an expert on the Hollywood lingo and the way it all works. They may still want see about all the inner workings, but now they'll understand more what's going on.
What is the atmosphere on the set like?
Dickens: It is bit family-oriented. Felicity and [husband William H. Macy, who has a small role on the show] have two kids and Justine has a baby but Eric and I are childless. We get go out and have pizza and beer. And Felicity is like, "Oh, that's not fair" and we're like, "Oh, but you have a husband and family.
Huffman: [Laughing] It's heinous! I hate it! Is it rewarding? I'm in a different place now. I have two children. I don't eat, breathe and sleep work the way I used to. My priorities are split, focus has changed, but it's a wonderful group to work with. And Eric, when he's sober, is just great. [Laughs] What's also really great is Wayne and Donna worked really hard to get all the episodes done, so we know the entire arc of the story. We aren't waiting around going, "OK, what's going to happen next? How does the story go?" So we all feel prepared knowing what we are going into.
Any aspirations to write?
Dickens: No, not really. I like my job as an actor, I really do. I like our schedules; I like what we get to focus on. With writers, it's like you never get to stop working, always absorbing and watching life around you. You do that as an actor too, I guess, but I just like doing the acting part better. Writers have their own vacuum. You got to get your word out there and get it read, hope that people see your vision. It's just as much a struggle as anything else.
Bateman: I don't really have any aspirations per se. I mean, I do write, short stories and poems and I enjoy my own writing. [Laughs] Guess everybody does. But I don't think I have a script in me. I've got one of the choicest jobs in the entire world. Look at me. Today, I've got the day off, sitting around and tomorrow I'll go say lines in front of a camera and someone will do my makeup. And then someone will give me a check. It's really a privileged position. Sure, there's hard work too, but honestly, it can't compare to having a real job. I don't care how many stunts someone did for themselves or whatever. It just can't compare.
Huffman: I would love to write, but I'm pretty sure I'm talent-free at it. I would like to--in this business, it's good to have as many balls in the air as you can.
What about having to be glamorous 24/7?
Bateman: I just don't do it. I don't have time to do all that. That does seem like it would be a lot of work, to have to look a particular way all the time. I was just saying to my friend the other day, when Jennifer Lopez travels, I can't fathom the idea of how much luggage she's got with her. I mean, she's got a completely new outfit on in each picture, like from the shoes to the hat. That's got to be a lot of luggage. For me personally, I just don't have time.
Felicity Huffman: His and Hers
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy recently celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, but they still behave like a couple of newlyweds. Not in that outrageous way that captures tabloid attention like Billy Bob and Angelina, or J.Lo and, well, whomever she's engaged to at the moment. This is a couple who fix each other's stray hairs before pictures, who poke fun at each other with great affection, who finish each other's thoughts, and who share everything from screen time and childcare duties to a plate of vegetable fried rice.
Huffman is best known for bringing the rare combination of brass and beauty to her Golden Globe-nominated role on Sports Night. Macy is the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated star who will forever be ingrained in our hearts and minds as the hapless car salesman in Fargo. He's also a self-proclaimed "Southern boy" who makes the waitress blush when he calls her "ma'am." The couple has appeared together in countless stage, television, and film productions, including Magnolia, A Slight Case of Murder, and Door to Door. They will share an L.A. stage for the first time in The Guys, Anne Nelson's two-character play about a New York fire captain who lost eight men on 9/11. The show has been running at the Actors' Gang with a rotating cast for several months, and Huffman and Macy will fill in through Dec. 21. Back Stage West sat down with the busy couple at Lucky Duck Restaurant & Bar to discuss everything from the current state of television to the joy of sex scenes.
Back Stage West: How did you two meet?
William H. Macy: Through the Atlantic Theatre Company. It was around 1983 and Felicity was going to NYU--
Felicity Huffman: For, like, eight years.
Macy: Yes, because she's really smart. To learn everything she learned took eight years. David Mamet was teaching these classes through NYU, and I was involved in that, and it turned into the Atlantic Theatre Company, which is still running in New York. It's a magnificent little theatre.
BSW: Was it love at first sight?
Macy: No. First of all, we didn't get together for a couple of years. And then we did get together for a while, and then we split up for a while. And then we got back together out here--
Huffman: I had a crush on you at the very beginning, though.
Macy: I had a crush on you, too.
Huffman: [Laughing] Liar! You did not. I was round with a bad perm and big glasses. I was a total nerd.
Macy: I came out to L.A. first. I was sort of sick of New York. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and doing the same play over and over again for the same group of people, so I thought I'd shake things up and move to Los Angeles. And it was a good move. I hit the ground running, did a lot of movies from the very beginning.
Huffman: And then I followed.
Macy: We got back together after a dear friend of ours died around 1994. I heard his voice, clear as a bell, in my head, saying: "Call Felicity, see if she's going to go to the funeral." And I did. So we met up in London, where the funeral was.
BSW: What do you say to people who think they don't need training?
Macy: Some actors don't. If you're talented enough, you can get good at it. But then you have to earn your chops at other people's expense. You do those stupid things that one would hopefully learn at school not to do. I believe in going to school. There's a lot that you can learn. I believe in technique.
BSW: Specifically Meisner technique?
Macy: It's mostly Meisner--as it's been filtered through Dave Mamet, then through Atlantic. But basically I believe it's all about the objective and not the emotion.
BSW: Is this the first time you've done theatre out here?
Macy: This is the first one. I directed a production of Oleanna in, I think, 1994. It was right after the earthquake, I remember rehearsing the day after. It was with Kyra Sedgwick, who was also in Door to Door.
BSW: You both seem to work with the same people again and again.
Macy: We learned that from Mamet. He'd rather work with his pals and hires the same people over and over again. And it really does make life more fun. Some directors are just the opposite. Having worked with you once, they really want to move on.
BSW: Is that insulting?
Macy: Yes, it's hurtful. But more and more, directors really want to hoard people. They realize the benefits of working with people you know.
BSW: Is there anyone you haven't worked with you really want to?
Macy: Gene Hackman for me. I think he's the bee's knees. I'd like to work with some directors. I hope Gus Van Sant does another movie soon. I thought To Die For was one of the great movies of all time.
Macy: Yes, I'd like to work with Soderbergh. He's fab.
BSW: You worked again with Sports Night creator Aaron Sorkin on The West Wing. Why do you think West Wing took off and Sports Night seemed to struggle to find an audience?
Huffman: [Sighing] I don't know. I don't know where to point the finger. It was one of those sad, sad things.
Macy: I went out of my way to see what they replaced Sports Night with, and it just makes me feel lonely, like there's no place in this world for me. Because if they think that those are better than Sports Night, we just don't speak the same language. Look at all these new shows, they're all identical. Every one of them has the same billboard with these beautiful people looking sort of stern. Every network, every show, it's all the same. It is so hard to respect TV execs because of the garbage that they put on that screen. But as soon as you cop an attitude about it, there's some show that breaks out and is just astounding.
Huffman: The Sopranos is fabulous.
BSW: Are there any roles you wish you had played?
Macy: I always wanted to play Hamlet and never got to.
Huffman: There are tons. I'll be at the movies and go: "Oohhhh, man." Mainly I just want to be in them.
Macy: Aren't you pissed off that they made Shakespeare in Love? I hate that they made that movie, because I wanted to be in it.
BSW: Who would you have played?
Macy: Any of them.
BSW: You must really enjoy working together to do it so much.
Huffman: It's really fun on a movie that you get to go to work together and share the trailer and hang out. It's like when you play tennis with somebody who plays a great game, your level of game comes up, and that's how it is with Bill. I act with him and go: "Wow, that was great!"
Macy: You sweet thing. I like it when they let us make out on TV. We made out on Sports Night. [Macy guest-starred in several episodes.]
Huffman: I'm not a fan of making out, period.
Huffman: I mean, on film.
Macy: It's not sexy.
Huffman: Who wants to make out in front of a bunch of people? With someone you don't really know.
Macy: I just did one where I had a bunch of sex scenes with Maria Bello [in The Cooler]. That almost stepped up to fun. Felicity really helped me with it. I was dreading it. I had copped an attitude about it because I hate that stuff. It makes me so self-conscious. Felicity gave me a speech about if I didn't want to do it, I should get them to cut the scenes. But if I believe they belong in the movie, I'd better get on it and change my attitude and make them great.
Huffman: Bill would call up and whine, "Yeah, Maria and I were making out and there was this shot...." I was like, "Really? Let's see, Georgia spit up today, Sofia's teething, I've changed six dirty diapers..."
BSW: How do you balance the marriage and the career and now the children?
Huffman: We're still figuring it out. We don't know how to juggle the family and the career, that's the truth. We're learning. I don't think we both could work at the same time, to tell you the truth, unless it's the same show.
BSW: How did you get involved with The Guys?
Macy: Susan Sarandon sat beside me the night I saw it and basically wouldn't let me leave the theatre until I agreed to try and talk Felicity into doing it.
Huffman: And it's a wonderful play. You think, a 9/11 play? Yeah, right, sign me up. But it's great because it's not about the issue of 9/11, it's more about the central nature about what 9/11 brings out in people's psyches and hearts and what it does to the community.
Macy: One of the things Stanislavski talked about that Mamet picked up was how some moments in a play you have to analyze: How do I act this? How do I deal with this? Sometimes the truth is, I don't know. This is one of those situations. How do you figure out how to feel about something like 9/11? I don't think that you can. The human mind can't wrap itself around something like that. This is too big to be compartmentalized or understood. The only thing you can do is sort of chip away at the edges of it as truthfully as you can.
BSW: What is your opinion of the 99-Seat theatre scene?
Macy: L.A. has got to fix this theatre thing. If anyone from the union reads this: if they're trying to protect us actors, all they're doing is shooting us in the foot. Ninety-Nine Seats is not viable. They should do away with it. You've got to have at least 300 seats. At 99, you're guaranteed to lose money. I'm not saying they should mandate it, but I think it's really unhealthy for a theatre to not live on its box office, and I think it's hard with less than 300 seats.
BSW: Do you remember your first paying job?
Huffman: I did an after-school special when I was 15 called A Homerun for Love. I didn't know what I was doing. The first shot I was shaking so hard they had to keep stopping. I can't remember what it was about, even.
Macy: My first paying job might have been Jesus Christ Superstar in D.C. It was a completely illegal production we ran for three months on a cease-and-desist order. We kept telling them it wasn't a play, it was a concert. They didn't buy that.
[At this point, Huffman excuses herself from the table. As she exits, Macy stands up.]
BSW: You just stood up. You are Southern.
Macy: That was a wedding vow. Honest to God. I wrote all this poetic bullshit and I read it and thought, This is jive. So I just made a list of the things I would do. And one of them was, I'll stand up when you come to or leave the table. One would that I will build you a dream house, and we built a house that's pretty close. The other one was, someday, somehow, I'll get you a closet that's big enough. We now have a closet that has its own zip code. [Huffman returns to the table.] She noticed I stood up.
BSW: What do you think would surprise people to know about Felicity?
Huffman: I'll tell you a good one. We were doing Boy's Life at Lincoln Center, and we'd all go to the bar and talk. Bill had this big Russian sort of fur hat, kind of like in Fargo, with the flaps. Bill went in first and is talking to someone and this table of assholes are like, "Nice hat, nice hat."
Macy: I didn't even know I'd been dissed. But you don't cross Felicity.
Huffman: I was so pissed off, I ordered a huge tumbler of ice water. So I pretended I was drunk and wandered over to the table and was like, "Hi, guys," and dropped it in this guy's lap.
Macy: He was wet from the chin to his knees. He stood up, screaming, "She did that on purpose."
BSW: And the moral of the story?
Huffman: Nobody messes with my man.
Felicity Huffman : The 5 Year Plan
Felicity Huffman from Showtime's Original Series "Out of Order"
5 YEARS AGO
"I was sure my career was dead. I moved to L.A. to be with Bill [Macy]. I just couldn't get work. I decided to give up and go to Marinello School of Beauty. I actually got an application. I was like, 'I can't take it! I just want to be a hairdresser!'"
"In Out of Order, I play a woman in pain and crisis. On a superficial level, I was so happy to have something I didn't have to be pretty and thin for. Two seconds in hair and makeup, and they're like, 'Wow, you look like s---!' And I'm like, 'Excellent, that's the point!'"
5 YEARS FROM NOW
"I'd really love to be doing another cable series so I can spend time with my family. And I'd love to work with my husband. The more I work with William H. Macy, the better. And he's hot. I'd like to do nude scenes with William H. Macy."
CURRENT Out of Order
EXPERIENCE Sports Night, Magnolia, The Spanish Prisoner
NEXT Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and Joan Cusack
REFERENCES William H. Macy, David Mamet, Robert Guillaume