Rossum dives head first into ‘Shameless’

Actress says 'irrevernt' role is liberating

The hit Showtime series “Shameless” is nothing if not that: Ribald, raw and unabashedly real.

Star Emmy Rossum calls it “very ballsy.”

“They’re a band of crazy outsiders,” explains Rossum of the characters in the show, which revolves around Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), a drunken drop-in dad, and his brood of six kids left to raise themselves in the bum parts of Chicago.

“If you tell a human story, you tell it irreverently,” says Rossum, who plays Fiona, the eldest Gallagher and the glue that holds the dysfunctional family together. “You don’t have to dwell on the pain. You don’t have to stoop to pity.”

Rossum’s character takes on everything from making the kids lunches to scrambling to find cash for the electric bill to working a series of odd jobs to keep her baby brother — he’s black, and nobody knows quite how given his parents are both white — in diapers.

“Fiona is such a noble character,” says Rossum. “It’s fun to play somebody who’s so strong and fierce. Fear is the enemy of the show. Fiona is like a stray feral cat. She will scratch you and bite you but if you treat her well, she will give you a kiss.”

Fiona also spends a lot of time naked: having sex with her boyfriend, stripping out of her clothes, walking around unshowered in her skimpy underwear.

“Sexuality is a big part of life,” Rossum declares. “If you’re going to show poverty and family struggle in a realistic kind of way then you need to show sexuality. I wasn’t scared of it. Fiona has a masculine attitude about sex. It all comes fro a dude’s perspective. It’s a physical need. It’s not emotional mushiness.”

“Besides,” Rossum adds,” I figured if Macy was going to do it, I was going to do it.”

Minority actresses still face issues | Procedurals favor the femmes | Actresses ready to do it again | Actresses in contention
Lead Actress
Laura Linney | Martha Plimpton | Kathy Bates | Mireille Enos | Alexander & Harmon | Emmy Rossum | Sarah Shahi | Melissa McCarthy

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety