'Maybe I Do' star William H. Macy: It's never too late in life for romance

Richard Gere (left to right), Diane Keaton, William H. Macy and Susan Sarandon star in the romantic comedy, "Maybe I Do." Photo courtesy of Vertical
1 of 5 | Richard Gere (left to right), Diane Keaton, William H. Macy and Susan Sarandon star in the romantic comedy, "Maybe I Do." Photo courtesy of Vertical

NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Shameless and The Dropout star William H. Macy says he hopes viewers walk away from his new comedy, Maybe I Do, believing people are worthy and capable of romantic love, no matter how old they are.

Written and directed by Michael Jacobs, the film co-stars Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey.


It follows young-and-in-love couple Michelle (Roberts) and Allen (Bracey) who set up a meet-the-parents dinner unaware that both sets of septuagenarian moms and dads have been cheating on their spouses with each other.

"Life is tough and marriage is tough and it's complicated and, whether we like it or not, many times, marriages are a bad idea and they go south. You end up hating each other and damaging each other. It happens. But it also happens that marriages can be good," Macy told UPI in a recent phone interview.


"The punch line from this is we all deserve to be happy and you have to keep moving forward. When you find yourself stuck, that's when you start hurting each other, needlessly," The 72-year-old added. "It's the lesson that both sets of parents want to tell their children."

The inciting moment of the movie is when Michelle and Allen try to figure out if they can make each other happy over the long haul or are destined to repeat their parents' mistakes.

"What I think the parents are watching their children do is make those decisions about their spouse -- how are they going to find love in this life?" Macy said.

"In that instance, I think both sets of parents realize 'that's not our world anymore.' And they want to do whatever they can to help their children. Maybe all four parents are thinking at this point, 'Well, it's over for me,' but, in fact, it's not over."

The actor describes his character, Sam, as "a really good guy with a pure heart," adding he does not share the cynicism expressed by his wife Monica, played by Sarandon, and Gere's character, Howard.

"I like that. Sam still believes in romantic love. He still believes in possibilities, and I do, too," Macy said.


While Monica and Howard have been sneaking off together to have sex in hotels for months, Sam and Howard's wife, Grace, played by Keaton, only recently met by accident, spending one relatively innocent evening watching a movie, sharing a bucket of fried chicken and talking about their troubles.

Macy admitted to gushing over Keaton, 77, whom he has admired since she lit up the screen in the 1981 historical drama, Reds.

"It was the most romantic thing I'd ever seen in my life," the actor said, recalling the film's iconic train station scene in which Keaton's character is reunited with Warren Beatty's.

He said he also was little starstruck over Sarandon, 76, whom he said starred in many of his other favorite movies, including Thelma & Louise, Bull Durham and Witches of Eastwick.

"She is such a cool-ass actor," Macy laughed. "She's got the best batting average of any of us. She picks the best scripts and she is always magnificent."

He lauded Sarandon's performance as the mean-spirited Monica in Maybe I Do, even though Sam was the usual target of her barbs.

"We talked about our [characters'] relationship and it's an old story -- two people who are attracted to each other and they get married. Then they grow apart," Macy noted.


"They go in different directions and all these slights and insults have been building up over the years until they are both really bitter about where they have landed and incapable of doing anything about it and I think what happens during the course of this film is they are shaken out of that and have the courage to move on."

Sam and Monica's marital woes don't just impact them, however. They also taint how their son feels about commitment.

"Allen has grown up thinking marriage is a battlefield, that it warps both parties into something they're not," Macy said.

"Allen recognizes that his mother is a lovely, wonderful woman, but this mean streak comes out around Sam and Sam is the same way. He is just vicious with her. It's shaken Allen to his core.

"Allen's in love with Michelle and wants to get married, but he's just afraid to do THAT to someone. I think this is a common scene that kids grow up and all they know is what their parents did."

Grace, Michelle's mother, is the most optimistic of the four parents.

She feels guilty about her night with Sam and is still in love with Howard, despite the fact that he doesn't seem to notice her any more.


"Grace's point of view is that she is still holding out hope that there can still be romance, that you can still be swept off your feet. It doesn't matter how old you are. It can still happen," Macy said.

"Her daughter has learned that and that's why she is a little more hopeful and fighting a little harder for her relationship with Allen."

One of the most memorable scenes in the film shows the older members of both families experiencing a collective panic attack as they are supposedly meeting for the first time in the narrow hallway of Grace and Howard's house.

"That was hilarious," Macy confirmed.

"For some reason, Michael wanted to do everything in a smallish space. We had the whole house, but he wanted everyone on top of each other to raise the tension.

"That created some obstacles and how to get Sam out of there was one of them. We came up with a backflip off the couch, which was pretty freakin' funny."

Maybe I Do opens in theaters nationwide Friday.


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