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Why Did William H. Macy Direct ‘The Layover’? We Have Some Theories.

Some are more plausible than others

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Nothing says summer is over like a movie that feels cobbled together and unceremoniously dropped onto audiences. This year’s We Are Your FriendsPremium RushThe Switch is The Layover, starring Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario and out this Friday. Knowing only the movie’s title and stars, you’ve probably already figured this out, but The Layover is a buddy comedy about two friends who get stuck ON A LAYOVER in St. Louis and proceed to fight over the affection of a man who is apparently the only other attractive person on the plane. Here, watch the trailer:

Couple things: First of all, is St. Louis the worst place to get stuck? Isn’t it a major American city? They could be in Des Moines or anywhere in Kansas and it would be the same movie, but make 15 percent more sense. Secondly, I’m glad we’re still making movies that require you to pretend extremely beautiful women aren’t extremely beautiful. It’s one of Hollywood’s greatest pastimes, right next to giving Meryl Streep Oscars for everything and making Tom Cruise look tall. But the idea that Kate Upton would be a loser or that all St. Louis has to offer in the way of tourism is a Sheraton hotel isn’t nearly the most inexplicable thing about The Layover. This is:

That’s right—the man behind the movie that Newsweek said was “bizarrely” directed by William H. Macy is William H. Macy, who has been nominated for an Oscar and 13 Emmys (with one win). It’s Macy’s second time in the director’s chair—his first film was Rudderless, an indie movie about music and death starring Billy Crudup and Selena Gomez. Rudderless made sense—it was a passion project that he cowrote. There are no such easy explanations for why he took on The Layover. It’s probably the weirdest move in Macy’s nearly 40-year career. In the few interviews he’s given ahead of the movie’s release, Macy has turned to generalities and platitudes to explain his decision. “I love comedy,” he told a Fox affiliate in Washington, D.C. “I thought bringing my sensibilities to this might result in something good,” he told Variety. “This is my humor,” he said during a junket interview with JoBlo, before adding “and I’m crazy for women.” It has to go deeper than that, though—I need to believe it does. Which is why I’m about to make eight guesses about William H. Macy’s motivations, ordered from least likely to most likely.

William H. Macy thought he was being asked to direct an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, The Layover.

It was a great show, so who can blame Bill here? On the other hand, he probably should’ve realized that it was canceled in 2013.

The Layover is a smear campaign against St. Louis, which William H. Macy was put up to by his wife, Felicity Huffman.

Huffman has never forgiven the city and its inability to stop the spread of cholera, which killed her great-grandfather Frederick Berthold Ewing in 1849. Perhaps if St. Louis had better disease prevention and control practices in the 1800s, it wouldn’t be depicted as a sad, one-horse town in the 2010s. Just saying.

William H. Macy wanted Sunday Ticket for free.

Football season is coming up. I bet Macy even got them to throw in the RedZone Channel.

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail dared William H. Macy to do it.

Check out this quote from Esmail from before the second season of Mr. Robot:

“I think there is sometimes an instinct, when things go so well and you're winning awards, that now you just have to ... stay in that lane and I actually think USA, smartly, agrees with me that, no, we are going to keep continuing the journey, and as long as it's organic ... we can keep taking even more risks.”

In my opinion, you don’t have to stretch very far to go from that quote to: “You’ve already been acknowledged for acting so many times, William H. Macy. The biggest risk you could take now is to direct a sex comedy that goes straight to DirecTV.”

DirecTV found out about William H. Macy’s disconcertingly large collection of American Girl dolls and gave him a choice: make The Layover or star in an endless string of commercials with Cooper Manning.

“But he’s the worst Manning brother!” Macy yelled while signing a contract (and tightly clutching an original Samantha Parkington).

William H. Macy is just kind of, um, horny.

Seriously, though:

“I know it’s true, having been a pawn in women’s games,” is a real thing Macy says in this video.

William H. Macy loved The Other Woman.

I mean, who doesn’t?!

DirecTV paid William H. Macy a fair amount of money for his services.

OK, fine—this is probably why William H. Macy directed The Layover.