Emmy Rossum is ok with onscreen nudity, but has a problem with kids seeing violence


The Hollywood Reporter is really killing it with their roundtable interview series. Earlier this week we covered the reality roundtable, which featured RuPaul, Kris Jenner, Leah Remini, SallyAnn Salsano and W. Kamau Bell. Just getting all those people in a room is an accomplishment and there were so many excellent quotes that we covered them in three separate posts. We’ll be talking about Emmy Rossum’s portion of the comedy actress roundtable, and Corey covered Minnie Driver’s quotes earlier today.

As you may remember, industry outlets reported that Emmy negotiated with Showtime for equitable pay on Shameless after around six seasons, when her character, Fiona, had become much more integral to the plot than William H. Macy’s Frank. Emmy explained how those contract negotiations ohappened and it sounds like she just sat around and waited until her requirements were met. She also shared a disturbing story detailing how she was asked to audition for a part in a bikini.

On people confusing her with her Shameless character
People scream at me like, “F— you, Fiona, you overdosed that baby.” They actually think you’re that person.

On nudity on screen
I think we should be equal opportunity P and D. (Laughter.) But I only really want to see any nudity if there’s a purpose for it. For me, I am OK to be as naked as you want me to be, within reason, if it applies to the story. If it serves the character.

On nudity vs. violence
I don’t really have a problem with nudity. I have a problem about people’s heads being f—ing bashed in and children watching that. I don’t have any problem with children seeing a woman topless. I just don’t.

On experiencing sexism while auditioning
Well, I’ve never been in a situation where somebody asked me to do something really obviously physical in exchange for [a job], like a pay-to-play kind of situation. But even as recently as a year ago, my agent called me and was like, “I’m so embarrassed to make this call, but there’s a big movie and they’re going to offer it to you. They really love your work on the show. But the director wants you to come into his office in a bikini. There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do.”

He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question. And I actually had this moment like, “Well, how good is the part?” For a second, I was like, “Would I do it? Send me the script. Maybe the character is in a bikini in the movie.”

Not naked in the movie. “We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is.” Are you f—ing kidding me? Last time I checked, I’m not a f—ing model.

On negotiating for higher pay on Shameless
I wouldn’t say it was acrimonious, but after a very, very long kind of stalemate negotiation, it became public.

I don’t pretend to know anybody else’s motivations, nor do I really care, because in the end, [everything turned] out just fine. But when we started the show, obviously Bill Macy was the green light for the show. It’s Bill Macy. He’s an Oscar nominee, and I was 22 years old. And then as the show started to really have legs …

[From THR]

The situation where Emmy was asked to audition in a bikini reminds me so much of Alison Brie’s similar story where she asked to take her top off during an audition for Entourage. F-k any producer, director, casting agent or person in general who thinks that is ok. I don’t have much more to say about that except that these are the stories the actresses are telling us. I imagine it’s much worse behind the scenes.

As for how she negotiated with Showtime, I use that tactic often. When I’m trying to negotiate a price or payment from a new company and I don’t like the terms I just wait it out. Then when I’m not so offended at how high it costs/how low they’re offering to pay I’ll come back with a counter offer and wait again. It helps when you truly do not give a sh-t and I try to adopt that attitude in general and be pragmatic about things. Also, I totally agree with her on nudity (when it’s matter of fact) vs. violence on screen. There are so many reasons I like and admire Emmy and she just gave me more.


photos credit: THR and Getty

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29 Responses to “Emmy Rossum is ok with onscreen nudity, but has a problem with kids seeing violence”

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  1. Ann says:

    I wish women would name names and out these men who behave like Neanderthals.

    • Nyawira says:

      This. I will always love Megan Fox for stating her truth unambiguously. It takes courage and there may be repercussions from people associated with that director but if you don’t name and shame this conversation is pointless. I mean it’s not like we don’t know it happens, we need to know who is doing it so that we can use our power as consumers. And let’s be clear, girls and women are risking their lives and their families around the world by naming perpetrators. It shouldn’t be this hard for a millionaire actress with a secure starring role in a prestige show to just say “it was so-and-so” if for no other reason to forewarn other women.

      Long live Megan Fox!

    • LAK says:

      Entourage is pretty specific reference. Mark Walberg (yes, THAT Mark Walberg) and his producing partner Steven Levinson are the executive producers on entire series and if i recall, Mark once gave an interview about his close involvement with the produreferen

      Easy enough to look up other producers on the show.

      Also, given how they treated all the female characters and the %quotient of nude/ bikini clad/ semi nude females on the show per episode it’s no surprise that any auditions would unfold in that direction.

      With regards Emily and the bikini audition, Michael Bay is the first person who comes to mind. He is infamous for asking actresses to wear bikinis in auditions. Not surprising given how he shoots them in his films.


      • Ramona says:

        I dont think its Michael Bay. Emmy is an actual actress and she claims the role was one she really wanted. Do you think she would be fighting for any of the candyfloss characters he has in his films? I agree with Nawiras comment above, Emmy is in a much better place to name whoever it was than Rose Mcgowan and Megan Fox were when they dropped names and still she is dropping a blind item instead. In fact the reason we know about Michael Bays tendencies is because Megan spoke out first. I dont know how anything can change if women at this level dont start to use their voice.

  2. The Voice says:

    I imagine a world where no actresses allow demeaning audition processes and no actresses accept these terrible roles as eye candy. No audiences support movies that don’t feature women in compelling roles. The quality of the films that get made will quickly improve. Maybe we as women should “negotiate” all these processes now.

  3. Bettyrose says:

    She’s great on Shameless, and she really does carry the show. I feel like WHM is a big name who offers comic relief in a drama series, but it’s her show. He’s a great actor but the show would be tedious if his drunken antics were the main point rather than her heroic effort to raise those kids.

    However, it is Showtime and g-d there’s a lot of gratuitous nudity. The sad truth is that Rossum was hired for her hot bod and willingness to do nude scenes. She’s also a great actress who outshines Macy, IMO, but is that why she was originally hired? Kudos to her for refusing to play that game once she was a big name herself, but it seems like that game is the only option to get a foot in the door.

  4. Chelly says:

    If I were an actress id like to think that I would be OK being naked if as she said, it served the character & the plot bc it seems people embrace violence as “natural” than the actual human body. A lot of people can watch a movie with decapitation, & blood-bath-beatings & never blink an eye…the minute a p &/or a d even the Ts surface there’s gasps & even eye covering. I just don’t get it. What is the stigma here??? Maybe it’s just me

    • Bettyrose says:

      Chelly, it’s a lot more complicated than just “being naked.” As Rossum points out, the producer was was already familiar with her work and knew she was comfortable with nude scenes. The bikini was so he could inspect the merchandise up close.

      • Chelly says:

        I wasn’t speaking specifically to that situation. I meant in general

      • Bettyrose says:

        Chelly, sorry if I misunderstood. I totally agree that nudity and the human body should be normalized and violence vilified. Buuuut…the current state of nudity in pop culture is basically just the pornographic male fantasy. Even the stunning Emmy Rossum won’t be featured nude at age 40 after two kids. One can be fit, healthy, and stunning, but still not considered sexy enough for nude scenes. That is not body positivity.

    • The Voice says:

      Chelly, it’s not just you. I’m amazed at how desensitized people are to violence but protest nudity. Everyone has a body and no one should be ashamed of body parts. Or sex. It’s all natural. It’s violence that should be scrutinized.

      • cd3 says:

        I completely agree with you and with Rossum. Human bodies (all bodies) and sex are NORMAL. Violence (any kind), torture, murder, sex crimes etc – NOT NORMAL. Why are we OK with one and not the other?

        I’m not saying we should applaud gratuitous nudity either but let’s not stigmatize nudity and sex while cheerfully watching gratuitous violence in our TV and movies.

  5. jannab says:

    the nudity for fiona is completely overused and often serves no purpose other than to have nudity. over time her character has become awful, i’d actually like to see her keep her clothes on more and delve back into the depth that character is SUPPOSED to have.

    • jc126 says:

      I don’t like her character now either – well actually I have never been a huge Fiona fan. However, I wonder if that’s part of a deeper theme – is Fiona becoming more like one of her parents?

    • lo says:

      I think she is a hypocrite. She is OK with onscreen nudity (and maybe sex scenes) but she has a problem with kids seeing violence? I don’t watch Shameless, but I’m sure there are some scenes like that. She shouldn’t be in Shameless if she has a problem with violence on screen. Sometimes sex scenes can “affect” children.

      • Bettyrose says:

        In all fairness, Shameless isn’t a show for young children. There really isn’t much graphic violence, but the show is about drug & alcohol addiction leading to extreme neglect of children, and the complicated love those kids still have for their parents.

  6. lisa says:

    she’s naked on her show a lot

    they know what her body looks like

    that’s about control and the 12 yr old boy in them being titillated


  7. Cleo says:

    I agree with her on the nudity vs. violence issue.

    One instance that sticks out to me is when I went with a few friends to see “Deadpool” and a mom with her 8-10 year old son sit down by us. We all thought it was a bit weird, since the kid was so young and the movie is a pretty decently hard R. It was only when there were topless women onscreen that she got visibly uncomfortable and tried to get her son to look away. Before this, there was a lot of cursing and pretty graphic violence. But THIS is what she took issue with her son seeing?

  8. Slowsnow says:

    So glad to read this here. I thought I was the only one with this kind of thinking regarding sex and violence.

    • The Voice says:

      There are a few of us who have similar views. I don’t mind being in this echo chamber. :o ) I’ve got a young daughter and I see it as my job to make her not feel ashamed of her body. I hope she meets other like-minded people.

    • Bella bella says:

      You should see the documentary, “This Movie Is Not Yet Rated.” It’s a real eye-opener on how movies get their ratings, and how much violence — and violence against women — is accepted in a PG rating whereas nudity or the smallest kind of love scene knock things up to an R. It’s an excellent movie — I highly recommend it!! It’s also about the hunt for the group of people who are responsible for rating movies. They are anonymous, unlike any other panel. It’s like 18 people, or something like that!!!

  9. Betsy says:

    My only problem with nudity is that it’s all women all the time. But I basically agree with her in that nudity is not in and of itself problematic like violence is. But my kids are still young enough that I don’t want them to see either.

  10. lo says:

    I remember when she said this: “My sister in law is handicapped. I’m a victim of sexual violence.”

    But now she says: “I’ve never been in a situation where somebody asked me to do something really obviously physical in exchange for [a job]…”

    So she is not a victim of sexual violence? She changed her mind?

  11. maryquitecontrary says:

    I completely agree with the sex vs. violence thing. Bodies and nudity are natural. Violence is…not. I think images of violence in films have desensitized humanity to violence overall. It’s NOT OK.