Hometown: New York
Favorite thing about the biz: “When I was real young, I wanted to be 1,000 different things. In acting, I get to do that every six weeks.”
Motto: “Stay focused and have fun.”
Gee, what a surprise: “I want to write and direct. I want to do everything.”
You can see her in: “The Audrey Hepburn Story” (ABC), “Songcatcher”
After spending her 13 short years shuffling between New York and Los Angeles, Emmy Rossum enjoyed her 28 days in the mountains of North Carolina filming “Songcatcher,” which unspooled this January to favorable reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and was recently acquired by Trimark Pictures.
“Songcatcher,” helmed by Maggie Greenwald and co-starring Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn, was awarded a special jury honor for outstanding ensemble performance at Sundance. A fall release is planned.
Rossum plays a mountain girl with a beautiful singing voice who has caught the attention of a music professor (Oscar nominee McTeer) fascinated by the local songs that have played a vital role in the hillbillies’ traditions.
So how did Rossum, who lives on both coasts and is more comfortable giving directions to mid-Wilshire from Sunset and La Cienega than finding her way down a dirt road, do in the wilderness of the Tarheel state?
“I hung around with the locals to do my research. I spent a couple of hours with each person I met in the mountains,” says Rossum, whose big break was a couple of years back when she got a role in several episodes of the sudser “As the World Turns.”
But fans of Rossum won’t have to wait for the pic’s releaser to see her. She plays the teen title character in ABC’s TV movie “The Audrey Hepburn Story,” which airs at the end of this month. Jennifer Love Hewitt plays Hepburn as an adult. The telepic was filmed in Holland and Montreal, giving Rossum a taste of foreign culture.
“I take advantage of every place I go,” says Rossum, who would like to see herself as a cross between Julia Roberts and Brenda Blethyn as she gets older and captures more roles. “In Holland, I read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and in Montreal, we had some amazing food.”
But being a teen actress is not all glamour. She’s home schooled by tutors from both NYU and UCLA, and doesn’t get a chance to hang out with her pals as much as she’d like.
“You miss going to the mall,” she says, “but I get time to talk on the phone. Sometimes your friends get jealous. I don’t keep solid friendships with people who just want to be with me because I’m an actress.”
But that doesn’t mean she’d trade in her life for something more “ordinary.”
“Definitely. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it,” she says.