William H. Macy Criticizes Excessive Film Violence: "It's Just P-rn"

Exploring William H. Macy's unique perspective on film violence

by Zain ul Abedin
William H. Macy Criticizes Excessive Film Violence: "It's Just P-rn"
© Jesse Grant/Getty Images

William H. Macy, star of "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" and renowned for his role in "Shameless," recently shared his stark views on the portrayal of violence in modern films during the latest episode of the "Films To Be Buried With" podcast.

Hosted by Emmy-winner Brett Goldstein, the conversation took a serious turn when Macy proposed an unconventional idea for a television show, aimed at depicting the harsh realities of violence. Macy's concept involves a dramatic narrative where viewers develop a deep connection with a major character over three episodes, only to witness him being shot.

However, unlike typical portrayals, the character survives, and the series explores the prolonged aftermath of the shooting. Macy envisions a storyline that delves into the physical and emotional turmoil following the violence, including the impact on the character's marriage, his struggles with infections, depression, and the challenging road to physical recovery.

This innovative approach aims to challenge the sanitized and often glorified depictions of violence in media. Macy criticized the current cinematic trends, stating, "You kill 18 people, it’s just p-rn. The only thing you can do to make that more dramatic is kill 18 more," highlighting his disdain for over-the-top violence that lacks emotional depth and realism.

Macy's Authentic Vision

Further discussing his views, Macy recounted his experiences with the worst movies he's ever seen, emphasizing that authenticity in storytelling is crucial to resonate with audiences genuinely. He believes many films fail this test, rendering them not only unbelievable but also damaging due to their unrealistic portrayals of violence.

In his critique, Macy also revealed personal repercussions from his outspoken stance, noting it has cost him job opportunities in the industry. Despite this, he remains committed to authenticity, sharing insights from a Western script he is developing.

This aims to depict a more historically accurate version of violence in the Old West, contrasting sharply with the exaggerated scenes often found in modern Westerns. Macy's perspective reflects not only on his career, including his nomination for an Oscar for the Coen Brothers' "Fargo," but also on his broader concerns about the impact of Hollywood's storytelling choices.

His discussion extends beyond criticism, offering a glimpse into his creative process and his commitment to storytelling that honors the truth of the human experience.