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How William H. Macy Behaved On The Set Of Shameless, According To Steve Howey

Steve Howey, who played affable beefcake/neighbor and friend to the Gallaghers, Kev Ball, on Showtime's "Shameless" for over ten years, has some high praise for his co-star William H. Macy. The "Fargo" Oscar nominee headlined the 2011-2021 series playing Frank Gallagher, a troubled father of six children and the de facto leader of the collection of miscreants, and Howey says that not only did his co-star play a father in the show, but he became a father figure on set — a sentiment to which other cast members have attested as well.

"William H. Macy has been a gallant patriarch," Howey said in a 2020 interview with Kulture Popped, as the series wound down. "He's been so wonderful because he's allowed to be one ... He's been so gracious," he continued. Howey said that Macy was always prepared for his scenes and was on set and on time every day. 

Howey also appreciates how Macy fostered a sense of playfulness on the set, something he hadn't experienced previously from some male figures in his own life. Howey said that in his past, "Bumping heads has occurred, literally and figuratively." But he never felt that way around Macy.

Watching Macy work was like a master class

"Shameless" star Steve Howey couldn't praise William H. Macy enough when talking about what it was like to work with the veteran star. "Bill just allows everyone to be themselves," Howey said. "He wants you to just play, have fun, find it, work on it, and get it ... It's truly been a master class in acting and professionalism." 

Howey adds that it was hard for him to keep it together during some takes; at times, he was unable to walk into a scene because he was marveling at Macy's performance while standing off-screen. Not only did Howey say that Macy is a fantastic actor — after all, he has been nominated for 12 Emmys, 6 for "Shameless," winning two for starring in and co-writing 2004's "Door to Door" — but he upped the ante by calling him "American television and film royalty."

Howey considers himself lucky to not only have worked alongside Macy, but also to have been surrounded by a solid "Shameless" cast that included Emmy Rossum, Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton, current "The Bear" breakout Jeremy Allen White and more. The cast became family to him, which he found to be the most rewarding experience of all. Howey says it never felt like he was just going to work while acting in "Shameless." Most of all, he had fun when he stepped on set everyday — and series star Macy undoubtedly helped set that tone.