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Out of “Focus”

William H. Macy becomes a target of anti-Semitism in David Mamet's new film.

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/arts/article/out_of_focus_20011102

"David Mamet calls me Hebraically challenged," confides actor William H. Macy, a longtime collaborator of the esteemed playwright. "I'm the ultimate [gentile]. Part of me is the imploding WASP, a role I've certainly played to death." With his weak smile and wounded-looking blue eyes, Macy was riveting in his Oscar-nominated turn as a car dealer struggling to cover up his wife's kidnapping in the Coen brothers' 1996 film "Fargo." He was the humiliated husband of an oversexed porn star in "Boogie Nights," and a beleaguered 1950s sitcom dad in "Pleasantville." Which is why he was cautious when director Neal Slavin asked him to star in his noirish feature-film debut, "Focus" -- based on Arthur Miller's 1945 novel about a milquetoast mistakenly identified as Jewish by his anti-Semitic neighbors.

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