Emmanuelle Grey "Emmy" Rossum is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She has starred in movies including Songcatcher, An American Rhapsody, and Passionada. Her role in Mystic River garnered her wider recognition. She starred in the blockbuster film The Day After Tomorrow and received critical acclaim for her performance in The Phantom of the Opera. She has since starred in Poseidon, Dragonball: Evolution, Dare and Beautiful Creatures. In 2007, Rossum released her debut album, Inside Out. She also released a Christmas EP the same year, titled Carol of the Bells. In 2013 she released a follow up album called Sentimental Journey. She currently stars on the Showtime dramedy Shameless, as Fiona Gallagher.
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Hi guys! I'm here for another AMA. You probably know me as the glue that (barely) holds the Gallagher clan together on Shameless... or Mystic River, The Phantom of the Opera, and Comet.
With the season 5 premiere of Shameless coming up, I'm looking forward to answering any questions you have about the show - and if you want a chance to actually LIVE a day as a Gallagher, you can enter my Omaze campaign for the chance to grab a friend and fly out to LA to help us crash Showtime’s Hollywood premiere party!
The campaign benefits The Foundation For Living Beauty, an incredible organization that supports women who are battling cancer. To enter, go to: omaze.com/shameless The campaign ends SOON so check it out before it's gone.
Victoria's going to be helping me get started. AMA.
EDIT Well, make sure to go and donate anything you can to the Omaze campaign so you can hopefully join us in LA! I just shot this video with my Shameless family that you can check out at http://www.omaze.com/experiences/shameless?
And if I didn't get to answer your question, hopefully I'll be on during the Xmas break and I can hopefully answer your questions. Thanks guys!
What is your biggest regret and why is it Dragonball Evolution?
HAHAHA! Because it's such a terrible movie! LOL!
The best thing that came out of it was I met Justin Chatwin, who's become one of my greatest partners in life, and I wouldn't have given up that experience for the world.
We were stuck in Mexico, in Durango, for MONTHS and MONTHS. And my only entertainment would be going to the local Wal-Mart, getting drunk, and buying DVDs of any American show i could find. The only one i could find was Nip/Tuck. So I watched all of it while filming DRAGONBALL in Mexico. Thank God Justin was there to keep me sane.
But I wouldn't call it a regret I made the movie. It's just not very good. I don't really regret any career choice I've made. I've made them all and learned from all those decisions. Even if they were mistakes, or regrets, I call them "choices" and make different ones in the future.
I had to privilege of sitting behind you at the Knicks game on Wednesday. When I called your name and waved to you, you waved back. This was at the same time the cameras put you on TV. I thought the side by side comparison of the pictures was cool. http://imgur.com/VNzuSLb Thank you for waving back. I am assuming you found me more important than being on TV - which is awesome.
Anyway, what has been your favorite memory of working on the set of Shameless?
My favorite memory from working on SHAMELESs was one day we were doing a scene in the kitchen, and Steve Howey was (for some reason) saying one random line in the middle of the scene in a Jamaican accent. And I don't know if we were all low blood sugar, it was right before lunch, but we all got a bad case of the giggles and actually had to break for lunch before finishing the scene because we couldn't get through it without remembering the Jamaican accent, even when he was doing it!
And by the way, it wasn't scripted at all - it was something he decided to do in the moment.
Thanks for doing this AMA. In high school I finally worked up the nerve to ask the girl I was “in love” with on a date to see Phantom of the Opera. We were too young to appreciate the film but we both agreed you were unbelievably talented. And beautiful.
Having grown up in a family very similar to Shameless, I love the show because it’s so cathartic. It’s amazing how personal some of the scenes in the show are, and how therapeutic it is for some reason to watch it on screen. This last season both Fiona and Ian started to show signs of their parents’ diseases, and that theme hit so close to home it made me stop lying to myself about my behavior and get some professional help. The doctors said I was well on my way to an early death (I’m in my mid 20’s). Many months later I’m in the best physical and mental health I can ever remember being. So thank you for that.
As to my question: In preparation for the show did you tall to any children from alcoholic households? Were there any recurring themes or stories that stuck with you and that you think of while acting? I ask because your acting is so "fall off a motorcycle at 60 mph" raw sometimes it makes me cry. And I'm a big burly dude.
Anyway thanks a million, looking forward to the new season!
That almost made me cry.
Thank you for all your kind words.
I'm glad that our work could have a positive impact on even one person. That makes everything totally worth it.
In preparation for the role, I did meet with a counselor, a therapist, who works with specifically children that have grown up with alcoholic parents. And it was really informative in terms of the roles that get adopted by children when they grow up in that kind of environment, like one child is a clown, one is the parent, one is the screw up... and how those roles can shift like musical chairs throughout the years.
So for me, I played Fiona from the beginning as a parent, but her role started to shift in the 3rd and 4th season with her tendencies towards drugs & alcohol. And she became the screw up, and Lip became the parent in her absence. I find that dynamic, that shift, so fascinating.
Will you marry me?
How about a drink first?
What's it like being my most favourite person in the world?
You and my mother.
Has playing Fiona changed your perspective on the world in any ways?
Yes. It changed my perspective on female beauty, because Fiona isn't a very glamorous character, yet most fans see her as really sexy, so to play a woman on TV who doesn't wear a lot of makeup or fancy clothes, and to have that seen as a desirable woman is a really positive thing.
Also we get to go into all of these neighborhoods in Chicago that are so different from how i grew up in NYC, and the West Side and the South Side, which are lower-income neighborhoods that have a lot of violence in them - the people that we meet in those homes are remarkably gregarious, kind, fun, welcoming, warm... so it's very different than I might have thought of "The South Side" or "The West Side" before I went there.
Do you have any funny stories about filming Shameless?
Yes. This year, I was doing a scene with Jeremy Allen White, who plays Lip, and in the scene, his character and my character are trying to remove my ankle-monitor that I got while I was in prison, and while filming the scene, Jeremy realized that I hadn't shaved my legs, so he decided to use the pliers that were a prop in the scene to individually remove my leg hair.
Hi! Love you!
What's your favourite vegetable?
Does anybody have a favorite vegetable? Right?
Hi! Are you contracted to ever sing opera on Shameless? It would be like having Arnold Schwarzenegger on the show without him breaking anything. Happy Hanukkah!
Um... no, in fact, they try to make sure I don't have singing or dancing scenes, because they think it wouldn't be very "Fiona" if all of a sudden I busted out something.
Between TV and Movies, which do you prefer working on?
I've really enjoyed being on the TV show because I've gotten to follow a character's evolution for so many years. But I do look forward to the projects that i get when I'm on hiatus, when I get to do something unexpected and different.
Hi Emmy! I love your cat pictures on Twitter :) How did you get involved with Best Friends Animal Society?
Fiona (the cat) I actually rescued from the West Side in Chicago from under the porch of the house that the Gallaghers live in. Now she lives in Los Angeles with me. But she's still a bit of a Chicago troublemaker. I got involved with Best Friends Animal Society a couple years ago, and this year (during my hiatus from filming Shameless) had the opportunity to visit their Sanctuary in Utah, where they have thousands of rescued animals. And I'm such a huge admirer of all the work they do, especially being the leader of the no-kill movement in LA.
And now i got another dog from them, which brings the headcount to 3 dogs and a cat. So basically, now I live in a zoo. The new dog, named Pepper, is destroying her 3rd toy of the day.
Ask anything?! Alright then. Hm.....What Hogwarts house would you be in?
Gryffindor. Whatever Hermione's in, so I can hang out with her. And until I saw the movie, I thought her name was pronounced Her-my-owney, until I saw the movies, and then it blew my mind!!
Emmy you're adorable.
South sider here - thanks for the show that takes me back to growing up. Is it weird meeting your fans who are likely perverts like myself, knowing they'd seen you in a nude seen?
I suppose that... I've never been terribly self-conscious about nudity. You can just ask my family. Until the age of 8, I didn't like to wear clothing at all. And for me, people getting to see my body isn't actually revealing something about MYSELF. How much can you learn about somebody without their clothes on? You can't learn their humor, fears, thoughts. So I suppose being nude, in character, for a television show, where I'm trying to tell the truth about that person isn't that big of a deal for me. And if it makes sense in the scene then it doesn't phase me at all.
What has been you oddest fan encounter?
Once on a press tour in Germany, a fan of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW snuck into the hotel & followed me into the elevator.
I think they almost invited themselves into my room - but I had to say goodnight!
What do you enjoy doing the most outside of acting? :)
I love to travel. I like to see new places. I find travel really inspiring. Learning about new cultures... tasting new foods... seeing different art around the world. I love taking pictures & sharing my experiences from traveling with people on instagram.
I know the cast was left in the dark about the season 4 finale....so what was your exact reaction to finding out Jimmy/Steve was back?
I was honestly infuriated. Because I had been campaigning for that ALL season. I was really unhappy with the resolution of that storyline. I felt it was confusing, and unresolved, and I had asked both the network & our producers if we could reintroduce the character to clear that all up (both for me and for the audience).
But they were seemingly unresponsive to my requests / pleas.
Little did i Know, they actually FLEW Justin to Chicago, hired a different crew, kept him in a different hotel, and filmed - UNBEKNOWNST TO ANY OF US- a scene that would end season 4.
It was so top secret that it wasn't until it aired that i Knew it happened.
And in that moment, I was so mad about being kept in the dark that i was speechless.
Of course, I was happy, overjoyed that his character was going to be reintroduced. I felt that was great for his character and the audience. But i felt so confused / hurt as to why nobody told me that this was going to happen, or be in the show! I felt like "Did my boss think I wasn't trustworthy or that i would spill the beans on twitter?"
And the second after it aired, David (who runs SHOWTIME) sent me an email that said one word: GOTCHA.
And all my anger and stupidness went out the window, and I was overjoyed that we got to see Justin's character again.
You've mentioned in past interviews and what not that you have celiac. Does your work ever make it difficult to follow a gluten free diet?
Food you miss most that doesn't have a gluten-free equal?
I'm allergic to gluten, but I'm not technically celiac. It gives me really bad canker sores. So I've been gluten free since I was 15.
The worst part is that I actually REMEMBER what real pizza and bagels taste like.
And the gluten free alternatives aren't ever really the same.
There is going to be a flashback for Frank next season. Would you like to see more flashbacks in the next seasons? It would be really amazing to see for example what Fiona was like as a child. Thoughts? :)
I suppose I imagine her a little bit like Debbie's character - somewhat precocious, in control, and a take-charge attitude. I personally want to see a flash-FORWARD so that I can see that things are going to get better for her.
You all have such great chemistry in the show, and there's quite the substantial number of cast members! How close are you to everyone else? Have you made any really good friends on set?
We're super close while we're shooting, and we often go out for drinks or dinner after shooting. During hiatuses, everyone goes their separate ways, but the second we get back together for filming, it's like old family again.
I would say I'm particularly close to Jeremy and Emma. Emma is an only child and I kind of have taken it upon myself to mentor her a little bit, including sometimes monitoring her text messages and snapchats.
How similar are you to Fiona and if you are very similar to Fiona, has that caused any challenging scenes for you to film due to personal reasonings?
We're similar in some ways, and very different in others. I'm an only child. I grew up in New York, single mom. Fiona's from Chicago, and the oldest of so many siblings. So definitely a different energy & upbringing. But I think we have a similar combination of toughness & vulnerability. Sometimes art does mirror life in strange ways. In season 3, I think it was, Fiona's grandmother passes away (suddenly) and it was right after my grandmother whom I'd only met a couple times passed away. So it was a strange experience for me to play a scene where I'd be getting a phone call that my grandmother passed away, when that happened to me 2 weeks ago. And whereas I usually find emotion comes very easily to me when I play pretend - this time, I was so shut off from the feeling because it had just happened that i had to pretend something completely else than a family member or a grandmother passing away because it was too hard for me in that moment.
Hi Emmy! Have you met any of the cast of the UK version of Shameless?
Yes, I've met David, who plays the UK version of Frank Gallagher. He came to visit our set, and that was a really surreal experience, to have two Franks on the same set!
Truth be told, I've only seen one episode of the UK version, which I watched before I auditioned.
Emmy! I really enjoyed you in "You're Not You"!
What was your "Holy crap, I made it!" moment?
Working on MYSTIC RIVER with Sean Penn, Clint Eastwood and Tim Robbins. That's the kind of moment where I have to remind myself to keep breathing oxygen, because i was about to pass out numerous times simply from being in their presence.
How great is Shameless season 5 gonna be? what should we expect??
Frank Gallagher will fall in love for the first time. Fiona Gallagher will get rejected for the first time. Debbie is finally a woman, if you know what I mean. And Carl has a broken leg because the actor Ethan who plays Carl actually broke his leg in real life, while dancing a party (or so that's what he told us).
How do you break your leg dancing?
what's your perfect first date?
Enter http://www.omaze.com/experiences/shameless? to find out ;)
A question dealing with the present trend of comic book movies & series.
Have you been approached to do a film or series inspired by a comic book from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse or another independent press?
Yes. I've always been really interested in collaborating with Neil Gaiman on something. But nothing has really come to fruition yet...
Really love your work. I think I've been in love with you as an actress for years. What do you find the most inspiring about Shameless?
I guess the coolest thing about being on SHAMELESS is that it's a show about a lower-class struggling family. And there are so few shows on TV that are not aspirational in some way. So I think we're speaking for part of America that doesn't get featured a lot on TV, and I really like that. Of course, we are a very very dark comedy / satire, so we're not trying to depict things completely realistically, but I do like that our show stands on its own, in terms of tone, mix of drama / comedy, and the blue collar nature of the character and their world.
I'm a huge fan of shameless!
What scene in shameless was the hardest to film?
By far the hardest to film was I think in ep 11 of season 4, when Fiona is outside at a gas station, in the cold, without a coat and without shoes. We were shooting super-late at night somewhere outside of Chicago, and i just remember it was - 18. And I was out there, in socks. And there was really no place to even keep warm. And i just remember thinking if this isn't a really great scene, I'm going to be so pissed off because i was so cold & miserable. But in fact it is, the shot looked really cool, and it really does show what a shitty situation she's gotten herself in. SO I was really glad that I did it, and sometimes you have to go through that when you're filming to get a good scene.
It's a lot less glamorous than it looks.
Emmy, thank you for the incredible work you've given us over the years. Shameless is nothing short of fantastic.
Was there ever a project you had to turn down that you wish you could have done? Something that ended up being highly successful or acclaimed?
I passed on TWILIGHT 'cuz I didn't like the script.
While I love you on Shameless, I have to say your favorite role for me was Christine in Phantom of the Opera. YOU WERE PERFECT!!! That movie re-lit my passion for theater, and you brought my 14-year-old self endless amounts of joy in listening to that album/movie.
Would you ever consider doing theater or another musical role?
I would love to go back to Broadway and go onstage again. I don't know if I would do a musical. Unless it was really amazing. Because it's SO much work physically. But I would love to do a straight play, and a musical if I really fell in love with it.
Hi Emmy, Shameless News here, this past year there has been a lot chatter regarding the switch from drama to comedy, do you feel attaching labels hinders the show or helps it in the long run?
Well, I think that some of my favorite shows on TV don't really fit into any "category."
We're not really a drama. But we're not completely a comedy. We're in some gray middle ground of dramedy.
But a lot of Fiona's storylines are more dramatic than comedic. That switch has been beneficial for awards nominations, seeing as Bill H. Macy has been getting a lot of nominations now that we are in comedy. John Wells always thought we were more of a comedy than a drama.
But some of my favorite shows - like TRANS/PARENT -don't really fit in any category at all. So I think there needs to be a new category.
What's your favorite episode of Shameless and why?
My favorite episode was episode 6, season 4. Because it was very challenging for me emotionally. I enjoyed our director, James, who directed a film called THE SPECTACULAR NOW (which you should check out if you haven't seen already, with Shailene Woodley). I thought it was really well written, really challenging. Pretty much the last 6 episodes of last year were my favorites on the show.
Would you ever come to Maine?
Yes. I hear they have great lobster!
And the East Coast is my jam, so absolutely.
I was wondering.... What do you enjoy doing more? Acting or singing?
I see them as kind of the same thing. They're both artistic expressions & ways of telling a story.
What's your favourite film?
I love WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I like THE GODFATHER. I like MRS. DOUBTFIRE, when I was a kid, that was one of my favorites. I like IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. right now Christmas movies are coming to mind, because I love holiday movies. I love NOTTING HILL, I love LOVE, ACTUALLY. There are so many that come to mind!
After accomishing so much in your acting career and personal life, what dreams do you STILL have to fulfill?
Too many to possibly list here. I would love to build a house someday. I would like to move back to New York full time. I would like to relearn French. I would like to like to learn more about politics. I'd like to... go to New Zealand. I'd like to go on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic - because I've always wanted to go to space since I was a little kid.
Too many to possibly list here.
Hi Emmy! I saw that you were in DC recently. Did you eat at Georgetown cupcakes?
I did not. I ate at The Capital Grille, and I visited some museums, and then I had the great opportunity of eating lamb chops at the White House (which I have to say were some really good lamb chops. Obama knows what he's doing with a lamb chop!)
Hey Emmy, love your work&your style you are indeed a beautiful woman. Question any xmas music this year? I totally enjoyed your tunes last year
I love oldies Christmas songs, like all of the Frank Sinatra Christmas songs, Judy Garland, but there's an original Christmas song... pulling it up now... called "Little Soldier" by Mindy Deldhill and I really really like that song. It's an original. Very sweet.
Do u think it would of made a difference if shameless took place in new York or another major city than Chicago?
I suppose what's interesting about the show is that it's about the blue collar - I think it would be the same with any urban environment. Which is why I think it works in the UK. Which is why I think it could work in any kind of urban environment. Chicago has such intense seasons, too, and the way the winter plays in as a character itself - it is a big part of the show. So I think any kind of urban environment that has all 4 seasons would be very similar to Chicago. At one point, they wanted to set the show in Detroit, which could have been similar. Initially, Shameless was set up at a different network, with Woody Harrelson in the lead role, and they wanted to set the show in the south, and our show runner John Wells thought it was too stereotypical of a lower-income southern family, so he set it in Chicago...
So what's going on this weekend?
This weekend I'm packing for my holiday vacation, which will be with a lot of snow and bison.
Are you tougher than you look? You look tough in the series.
No, I'm a lot less tough than I look.
Who are your favorite stand up comedians?
I don't have any favorite standup comedians. I dated a couple, and that was enough.
I just want to let you know, I saw Comet last night, and I don't think I've ever been on such an emotional roller coaster from a movie. What was it like making one of the most profound romance films of the century?
Um, it was pretty scary. Because the script is so dense, and it's pretty much only my character and Justin Long's character for the whole film - there's nothing to fall back on besides the chemistry, the performances and the writing. There's a solid chance it could be really boring. So I'm glad people are responding to it in a positive way. It was a script I read & fell in love with, there was no male lead attached, so I came onboard and suggested Justin, whom I had just met at an Awards show, I texted him asking if he would read the script, and he responded saying yes, so he loved it and we were making the movie 6 weeks later.
Which Game of Thrones house would you belong to?
I would probably be Arya. She's a badass.
What is your favorite meal to cook?
I make a really good pad thai, I had some thai cooking lessons. I make a really good roast chicken. And I make adult gluten-free fish fingers with panko.
I also really like making soup in the winter. I make a carrot-ginger soup that's really good. And i stole a recipe off the internet for Olive garden minestrone, and that's pretty good too.
Do you want to be a director ?
I always used to say NO but now I'm getting more inspired to say yes. I always enjoy watching actors work. I love taking pictures. The thing I wouldn't like about it is having to answer 50,000 questions a day, but i love the creative process. Maybe I could dip my toe in with SHAMELESS? Bill H. Macy directed an episode this year, and it was a very interesting experience for the whole cast.
But it's not up to me. It's up to my bosses.
Thanks again for helping support NKLA at the last event.
If there were no legal limits in CA, how many cats, dogs, etc would you own?
Well, first I'd have to get a bigger house. But right now, where i live, I'm zoned to be able to have 5 dogs, 5 cats, a horse and a pig.
The fact that I own that shows what an animal-hoarding problem I have.
Girl, I'd go straight for you. :I
Ahem, on a more serious matter. Care to tease us something from the new season?
Playing in shameless, how did it affect your daily life?
People sometimes call me "Fiona" in the supermarket, but i like it.
One spoiler for the season ahead - one of the Gallaghers is pregnant.