Emmy Rossum covers the February issue of Complex magazine to promote Shameless, which I still haven’t watched. I want to watch it, really, but I’m a television commitment phobe. It will happen eventually. Emmy’s so physically lovely, and I’ve heard so many great things about the show. This Complex spread is all leather and vinyl, and Emmy looks good. Her body is pretty insane.
The interview is rather surprising because it contains a lot of substance. I guess I’m used to Emmy pulling up a chair and yakking about her dog’s massive wang to magazines. She still talks about sex here, but it’s rather deep stuff to be coming out of a starlet’s mouth. Let’s get to it, shall we?
On the nannies that raised her: “They were all women who were in their 60s–my mom wouldn’t let anyone who was of procreating age take care of me. My nannies taught me that if you wanted it bad enough, impossible things could happen, like your dad coming back. That was something that was verbalized to me as a kid, like, ‘If you light this many candles or if you pray or do this or do that….’ It made me disillusioned as a teen when that didn’t happen, and when I started becoming known as an actress and it still didn’t happen. There were a lot of disappointments. That’s something I draw on for characters and that’s definitely where my distrust stems from. I feel like I’m going to read this and be like, ‘Wow, I was way too open.’”
On having an absent father: “It initially made me want a relationship with my father more but I realized that’s not possible. He’s not interested in that. Whether or not I was ready to face that, I had to. I definitely have feelings of abandonment and self-protection over that, and Fiona does, too. Her feelings toward her mom are probably closer to my feelings toward my dad because her mom is MIA and my dad is MIA. We have that childish hope that somebody who doesn’t care about you suddenly will.”
She’s not a Hollywood trainwreck: “Nobody can give you a guidebook on how to play it. Jennifer Lawrence plays it best because she’s not playing it. People can tell when you’re playing. I must not be that interesting. I don’t like the club scene and most of the people I’ve dated haven’t been actors, so I’ve finagled my way out of it. But it’s not as if paparazzi don’t park outside my house and snap my photo. They do. I just [don't] go to clubs without my underwear on. The club scene just never interested me. It’s not like I didn’t do it for a week, but then it was boring to me. I couldn’t hear anybody. I love getting to know people. In the club you’re oversaturated and not experiencing the people you’re with.”
On her biggest romantic fail: “I was walking down the street in Greenwich Village late at night with a fellow I went on a few dates with and a bar was playing a Justin Bieber song. I started dancing and having fun with it. I knew some of the words. He must have thought I really liked Justin Bieber because a couple weeks later I was on location and he sent me a care package with an autographed picture of Justin Bieber and a bunch of my favorite candy. I thought it was funny so I sent him an autographed picture of Carly Rae Jepsen. Our relationship ended shortly thereafter. But I actually had the picture of Justin Bieber up ironically in my room for a couple months. It was pretty funny. That was before he was urinating in public and saying Anne Frank would’ve been a ‘Belieber.’”
On sexual themes in pop music: “There’s this Enrique Iglesias song ‘Tonight (I’m F—in’ You).’ It’s basically about tonight he goes to a club, he sees a girl, and then he’s going to f— her. How about buy her a drink first? How about find out her last name? It sends women the message that that’s how you should be treated, because girls are programmed to want the famous guy, to listen to what they say. There’s a lot of harm that could be done through stuff like that. Women putting that sentiment out there, I have no problem with that. There’s a kind of female empowerment that Sex in the City started that women should retain their sexual power. That’s not how I approach sex, but if a woman wants to have sex that way, I’m OK with her doing that. I think there should be equality. The idea of sex being in a club. ‘Tonight, I’m f—ing you’? To me it;s just so gross.”
On nudity: “I can do it when I’m in a character. When it comes to Shameless and it’s story-related it feels natural because I’m Fiona, not Emmy. There’s a distinction for me. It’s a different mentality approaching the scene. We always try to straddle–no pun intended–comedy and believability, finding the reality in it, what we can show about this moment and this sexual encounter that will illuminate something. Sex is taboo in our culture, but if you ignore it as part of the human experience and shy away from it because you’re scared to show it as an actor you’re limiting yourself. Of course guys that I’ve dated have said, ‘You know that people are going to j-rk off to that scene, right?’ and I’m thinking, Yeah, but I did so much emotionally. Isn’t that interesting, too? I guess there’s a certain masturbatory nature to sexuality but at the same time there are so many interesting things to be investigated that started with Kinsey and Freud. Pr0n isn’t what it’s about.”
On shooting sex scenes: “In the beginning I was hesitant and nervous to do scenes like that. I cared about how it would affect my real life. And it has affected my real life. People think that I am a much more sexual person than I am because they identify me with the character. People on the street are more crude with me because they think I’m Fiona. Those are the moments when it actually affects me on a my-feelings-get-hurt level, because they’re confusing the two things. I’m not like her in my real life. I’ve never had a one-night stand. Ever. We were just talking about this on set the other day. Seventy percent of the girls that I polled on our set have had a one-night stand. I’ve never had one. The one quasi-one-night stand that I had evolved into a two-year relationship. I was like, ‘Is there something wrong with me, or them?’”
Would she do nudity on stage? “It would be a lot harder for me. On Shameless, it’s a closed set. There’s only ever you, the actor, and the camera guy in the room at that time. It’s a private experience and I try to forget the fact that millions of people are going to watch it and I try to execute it the way I would any scene and focus on the emotion of it.”
There’s a lot here to digest, and it’s deceptive stuff because one can easily conclude that Emmy is merely talking about sex for over half the interview. She is doing exactly that, but it doesn’t come off as an overly bawdy conversation. The part about one-night stands is interesting and doesn’t come up very often during interviews. I wonder if she’s telling the truth about never having one. I’ve never had one myself, but I’ve gone there after the third date. That’s still too early in my experience and a total waste of a potentially good guy. Live and learn, I guess.
Photos courtesy of Complex magazine