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William H. Macy makes directorial debut with 'Rudderless'

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The film "Rudderless" focuses on Sam, played by Billy Crudup, a father whose life falls apart when he loses his son to gun violence. After discovering of a box of his son's demo tapes and lyrics, he's set off in a whole new direction.

William H. Macy has been a working actor for five decades. He made a name for himself in films like "Fargo" and "Magnolia," but he says nothing was as exhausting, intense and overwhelming as his latest project: a film about a band called "Rudderless."

The film focuses on Sam, played by Billy Crudup, a father whose life falls apart when he loses his son Josh to gun violence. After Sam discovers a box of his son's demo tapes and lyrics, his life sets off in a whole new direction. 

After acting for so many years, Macy says, he had gotten to a point in his career where something new had to happen.

"And I think I wanted to be in charge," he says. "I’ve always fancied myself a raconteur, and I can tell a joke, and I love music, and this script came along, and it checked all the boxes I was looking for.”

He threw himself into the music-making process of the film, he says, because he loves music, but also because it's such an important aspect of the story.

"The music speaks for the son who died. We see him in about three scenes at the beginning of the film," Macy says, "but that's Josh's voice."

"Rudderless" opens in theaters October 17th.

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