Make no mistake, Jeremy Allen White loved playing Philip “Lip” Gallagher on “Shameless,” but playing the same character for 11 seasons and 134 episodes across 10 years certainly took its toll on the actor. “Shameless” ran on Showtime between 2011 and 2021. The role of Lip proved to be a breakthrough for White, but he told GQ magazine that he was left in an “upsetting head space” when the show came to an end after a decade.
“I love ‘Shameless’ so much. I love everybody that was a part of it, and the experience was incredible,” White said. “But I’m not sure if shows are meant to go that long…There was a period where I stopped feeling like an actor and I started feeling like I was just here to do this show.”
White added, “It was an upsetting head space to be in. When it was going to end, I was questioning: maybe I do just exist on this show. What else is there? Am I an actor? I was definitely having a lot of doubt when I was finishing ‘Shameless.'”
The self-doubt White felt after “Shameless” ended is part of what attracted him to the role of Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto on FX’s new summer hit series “The Bear.” White plays a chef who takes over a Chicago restaurant after the death of his brother.
“I think that [self-doubt] was something Carmy was really struggling with, too,” White said. “We kind of found each other at a similar place. He knew he’s really gifted at this thing, but he could be painfully insecure about his abilities as well. I was feeling a little insecure at the end, too.”
Although it crossed White’s mind that he’d be going from playing a talented kid in a dysfunctional Chicago setting on “Shameless” to playing a talented kid in a dysfunctional Chicago setting on “The Bear,” he refused to let the similarities between the projects scare him off from taking on Carmy.
“I think I was too concerned with what other people might think, [but] I also knew that if I said no to this, that whoever ended up doing it, I would hate them forever,” White said. “So there was some spiteful stuff going on, too.”
All episodes of “The Bear” are now streaming on Hulu. Head over to GQ’s website to read White’s profile in its entirety.