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William H. Macy Talks About "Seabiscuit"

William H. Macy at the World Premiere of
©Rebecca Murray - All Rights Reserved.

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• Tobey Maguire ('Red Pollard')
• Jeff Bridges ('Charles Howard')
• Elizabeth Banks ('Marcela Howard')
• Gary Stevens ('George Woolf')
• Director Gary Ross and Race Designer Chris McCarron

• "Seabiscuit" Premiere Photo Gallery
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• "Seabiscuit" Credits
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• Universal Pictures

When writer/director Gary Ross added the role of Tick Tock McGlaughlin to "Seabiscuit," he wrote it with only one actor in mind - William H. Macy. Ross had previously worked with Macy on "Pleasantville," and knew the actor was the only person who could play the critical role of the fast-talking fictional radio announcer.

WILLIAM H. MACY ('Tick Tock McGlaughlin')

Could you explain a little bit about your character?
Seabiscuit was during the Depression, before television. America was hooked up to the radio, they listened to radio plays. That's where they got all of their news. Everybody had a radio and they had all their favorite shows. So Seabiscuit was a radio personality. I play Tick Tock McGlaughlin, a radio announcer. Gary Ross, our writer and director, used my character in a very cagey way because I start off calling the horse a nag and useless, and as I grow to love him, so does America grow to love him. I'm sort of the Greek chorus of this film.

Where did you find your inspiration for the character?
I made it all up, I won't lie to you. I didn't do any research. I've always felt that everything you need is on the page. In this case, it was. Gary Ross wrote me some great speeches. I've done some radio so I knew about that.

When you work on a film like this, especially a Gary Ross film, they have magnificent people working on it, the best of the best. The costumers, the make-up… The moustache came at the last second. They called me to the set and I said to the guy, "Could I get a moustache?" And he came up with that fabulous moustache.

Did you improvise?
I didn't improvise with the words because they were really well written.

Are you a horse person?
My wife is a horse person, her whole family rides horses. I'm not a fan. They're very dangerous. They're really, really big. You fall off a horse, you fall a long way. But there's something about animals that allows us to empathize even more than with people. It's just one of the weird things about films, people can see a person get hit by a car but [it's tougher] to see a dog get hit by a car. I think it's just one of the things that makes us human, that we need that release.

This is a great story about the most unlikely hero. I don't know if you read the book but this was the last horse in the world who should have been winning. He had an eating disorder - I love it that the horse had an eating disorder. He overate and they put him on diets. With other horses, they put them on a train to take them to [races] and they'd give them narcotics to keep them from kicking the train to death. Seabiscuit would go to sleep and sleep the whole way.

Interview with "Seabiscuit's" Elizabeth Banks - >

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