He has a name everybody recognizes, but can’t quite place in a film.  That’s probably because William H. Macy is best known for his “character” roles – ones that round out a cast, in varying degrees, after the blockbuster stars have already been cast. 

Not that Macy hasn’t been busy.  He’s appeared in more than a hundred films and television episodes, written another handful and even directed and produced a few more.  Some, like a 1986 episode of “General Hospital,” are hardly worth mentioning.  Others, like his 30 episodes of “E.R.” (from 1994 to 1998, as Dr. David Morgenstern), propelled Macy to the forefront of viewers’ consciousness.

But Macy’s career really went into overdrive after he played Jerry Lundergaard in the 1996 independent film “Fargo.”  He received numerous honors for the role, including an Oscar nomination and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor.  This led to a series of banner years.  In 1997, Macy appeared in three highly successful films: “Air Force One,” “Wag the Dog” and “Boogie Nights.”  The next year, he followed up with “Psycho,” “Pleasantville” and “A Civil Action.” 

Since then, Macy has kept busy writing, directing and producing. Some of his recent credits include “Seabiscuit,” opposite Jeff Bridges, and “Cellular,” opposite Kim Basinger.  His latest venture is an animated children’s film called “Everyone’s Hero,” which tells the Depression-era story of a young Babe Ruth fan who longs to become a baseball player, but who can’t even hit the ball.  Macy plays Lefty, a Chicago Cubs player who becomes the boy’s nemesis after stealing Ruth’s bat.  Also starring the voice talents of Rob Reiner (as a baseball) and Whoopi Goldberg (as Darlin’, Ruth’s bat), “Everyone’s Hero” is a film with an encouraging message about can-do thinking.

I recently met with Macy and other reporters in Los Angeles where he was promoting “Everyone’s Hero,” the dream child of the late Dana and Christopher Reeves.  With a welcome forthrightness and more than a touch of humor, he talked about what it was like to work with Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone and Anthony Hopkins; the changing nature of the film industry; his wife, Felicity Huffman; and the brand new passion that’s been revving his engine. …

What made you want to do “Everyone’s Hero?”
Chris [Reeves] had done a film that I wrote a long time ago.  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 was asked, ‘You want to make sure that the thing gets done?’ and everybody said ‘Yeah.’ 

It’s a lovely script.  I like the simplicity of it and the beauty of it.  Some of the Pixar films have all those double entendres for adults and ehhhh … some of the jokes.  This [film] doesn’t have any of that in it.  It’s so pure and clean, and it’s about keep swinging and don’t give up.

Are you a baseball fan?
I’m one of those guys that comes in during the playoffs and pretends that he’s been watching all year, and tries to memorize all the names and fake his way through it.