William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman Talk the End of 'Desperate Housewives' and How to Make a Hollywood Marriage Survive (Q&A)

11:08 AM PST 03/07/2012 by Lesley Goldberg
John Shearer/Getty Images

The couple, who's been married for more than 15 years, will receive side-by-side stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday.

This story originally appeared in the March 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

In an industry where celebrity marriages — and splits — are lucrative spectacles, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman impressively buck the trend. Together for more than 30 years and married for 15, Macy, 61, and Huffman, 49, will join elite company when they receive side-by-side stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — an honor the veteran actors of stage, screen and television say is the rare industry event that they’ll share with their two daughters.

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The Hollywood Reporter: In an era of short-lived Hollywood marriages, what’s your secret?

Felicity Huffman: Marry William H. Macy (laughs).

William H. Macy: Don’t get married on television. That’s a good rule.

THR: Your stars will be side by side, joining the legacy of other showbiz couples like Betty White and Allen Ludden and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. What does this honor mean to you?

Macy: It makes it a hundred times sweeter. I’ll admit to being a little embarrassed with how much I love this. Our two daughters are going to come watch the ceremony; we’ve been very strong about keeping them away from the business, but this is something we want them to see.

THR: You are both stage, theater and film veterans. Which medium do you find the most challenging?

Macy: Theater is tough, that’s a young man’s game. It’s shockingly difficult even though you only work at night for about two hours. It’s amazing how much energy, concentration and how much drinking it takes (laughs).

Huffman: I find film the most challenging. You’re shooting completely out of order, unlike a play, and you don’t have the rest of the play behind you for certain moments. You do bits here and there, and there’s more waiting than shooting. It’s hard to get a run at it.

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THR: Bill, you’ve recently written some episodes of your Showtime series Shameless. If you could pen a role for Felicity, who would she play?

Huffman: I like this question! That’s my next job, hopefully (laughs).

Macy: First of all, my character Frank Gallagher would nail her sooner or later. Felicity is a two-sided coin: She is at once a strong-willed and wickedly intelligent woman, and she can turn into this giggling girl who is wonderfully self-deprecating. I would love a character for her that embraces both of those things — a kickass broad who suddenly gets all girlish; someone who comes to do the Gallaghers harm who gets suckered in.

THR: Would you be game for Shameless?

Huffman: Absolutely. It’s a fantastic show, and I’d love to be on it. I’m indelibly [Desperate Housewives’] Lynette Scavo for a while, but I think I’ll have to take a break. Or maybe they could disguise me so I wouldn’t be recognizable.

Macy: You are a pretty good actor; maybe nobody would know.

THR: Do Housewives’ Lynette and Tom have a good chance at winding up as happy as you and Bill?

Huffman: I think they do. Their marriage is strong and yet flawed like many, but the basis is love.

Macy: I was really upset when they got split up, and I hate that plot.

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THR: How have you been handling the long goodbye to Wisteria Lane?

Huffman: It’s really the water we’ve been swimming in for the last eight seasons. Our children have grown up. It’s going to be a real sea change. It’s been the most wonderful years of my professional life.

THR: How is it for you, Bill, saying goodbye to Housewives with Shameless still early in its run?

Macy: We’re the luckiest palookas that I got Shameless as Housewives is ending. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to start living on my salary as opposed to Felicity’s salary, which is not fun. But we can do it (laughs).

THR: How would you like to see it end?

Huffman: Eva [Longoria] had this great idea that we should all jump in a convertible and drive off a cliff, a la Thelma & Louise, which I think would be funny. I’d like to see Lynette and Tom get back together and see their relationship stronger than ever — and to know that all these people are going to grow old together.

THR: Have you planned anything for the night of the finale?

Huffman: God, that’s going to be so sad; I’ll be crying in Eva’s arms.

Macy: Me too (laughs).

Huffman: He will just be in Eva’s arms, but I’ll be crying.

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