Bello, Alec Baldwin and Macy get lucky in Wayne Kramer’s
directorial debut, The Cooler.

When Frank Hannah (my co-writer)
and I first started talking about the character of “The Cooler,” we immediately latched
onto the idea of Bill Macy. I’ve always been a huge fan of Bill’s.
To me, he stands out in every role he’s had. There’s a great everyman
quality to him, and on top of that, he projects an enormous amount
of humanity. At one point years ago my wife and I pointed to him
on screen and laughed, “There he is again! He’s everywhere!” We
were always delighted to see him, even before we knew his name.

Finally, I had to say to myself, this is ridiculous.
I’ve got
to remember this guy’s name! He was so wonderful in Mamet’s Homicide and
on “E.R.” and later in Boogie Nights and Fargo. I
find Bill so much more interesting to watch than the typical A-list
star. He doesn’t feel “manufactured.” This guy is the genuine deal.

With regard to The Cooler, I was looking
for an actor who could start out being ordinary and “schlumpy” and then evolve into
being sexy. I needed to imagine this guy in bed with an attractive
actress and not feel like it was a stretch to believe she’d be
into it. I’m a heterosexual male and I find Bill “sexy” on
screen. By that, I mean, he’s very appealing— those sensitive eyes,
that goofy smile. If I was a woman, I’d be into him for all those
qualities, rather than just the cookie-cutter, square-jawed features
that come off the Hollywood assembly line. I think a lot of women
agree with me on that one. Bill is super charismatic. He lights
up the screen like few others are capable of. To me, he’s a bona
fide movie star. Not just a movie actor, but a real star.

Bill really is that nice guy you see on screen,
but he’s no pushover
in life, either. He’s a smart, intuitive person with a lethal sense
of humor. And he doesn’t suffer fools easily. And, yes, I am running
for president of the Bill Macy Fan Club.

I wasn’t surprised with any of the magic Bill brought to the role—because
I expected nothing less. From the day he committed to the part,
I knew I was golden in terms of bringing this character to the
screen. I knew he would deliver on the awkwardness and the humanity
of Bernie Lootz.

Bill gets amazingly in sync with his surroundings
and the intent of the scene. He also brings a bit more humor
to the role than
was originally scripted—and that was fantastic. He came up with
a lot of great asides or gestures. He’s always thinking, always
calculating how to make the performance better. He takes nothing
for granted. He’s extremely diligent; the guy learns his lines
inside out and backwards. And he keeps his good nature about him
until wrap is called. This is a guy who gets out of bed every morning
and thanks his lucky stars that he’s a successful, working actor
(and writer). I think too many big stars forget how tough it is
to buck the odds and make it in this business. Bill Macy never

I think Bill’s biggest strength is that he doesn’t play into his
own ego, and he has an innate understanding of his own ability.
He knows he doesn’t look like Cary Grant, but he also knows he
embodies something unique, and it’s a quality that is very much
in demand. Although he started out in roles as the invisible supporting
guy/best friend/office manager, he’s come into his own. Why? Because
people notice him now; they’re intrigued. He’s found so much success
because people are looking for more than just a pretty face—they’re
looking for someone who represents the regular guy, and does it
with charm and style.

I think another huge strength Bill has is that he aligns himself
with the director. He was my biggest ally on The Cooler.
He always had my back, and now it’s my mission to bring him into
the studio system as a leading actor. I want to see this guy earning
double digit millions. He’s worth it. MM