It’s fitting that Emmy Rossum was in New York the week her beloved Knicks had a major front-office makeover. Her favorite team recently announced their new president, a NBA legend you might know: Phil Jackson. In addition to promoting Shameless, the lifelong Knickerbocker fan made time to catch a game at Madison Square Garden, and chatted with us about her thoughts on the team’s future as well as her day job: Showtime‘s Shameless, where she’s played the mature yet consistently self-sabotaging Fiona Gallagher, for four seasons.
As we near the end of the show’s much bleaker fourth season, Emmy revealed what it’s like to swear around a room full of children and whether or not her character will ever truly feel happy. Read on for the New York spots the actress can’t get enough of and who she’s rooting for in the Fiona/Mike/Robbie love triangle.
VH1: At the top of Season 4 it seemed like Fiona finally had gotten things together, then we had another series of bad decisions that led to self-destruction. When reading the script do you ever say, “Enough!”? Or do you like that it shows how self-betterment is a slow burn?
Well I don’t think it’s a slow burn for her. This is like a quick explosion. She seemed to have a leg up in the world and have a steady job and health insurance and this boyfriend — even though he was a little vanilla and boring — was super nice and caring. So I think she’s just not used to success, and I think that actually doing well is physically and viscerally uncomfortable for her because she’s always lived in a state chaos. I think that she sabotages so that she can go back to the environment that she had before, only she does it in such a way that she ends up much worse off than she was before.
Are you rooting for her?
Oh my god, of course! I’m her biggest fan. I feel like she’s my sister or a part of me. It’s a weird thing you experience as an actor with your character. Even if it’s an evil character — which Fiona isn’t — you’re always finding the empathy for them.
Do you have ideas for where you would like her to go in Season 5?
I want her to get in therapy. I think she needs to talk about some of her issues. I don’t think there is any upward movement without actually talking and figuring out why she’s made the mistakes that she has.
We are also seeing the love triangle that’s unfolded between Fiona, Mike and Robbie. Do you have someone you’re hoping Fiona will end up with?
I want her to be single. I’m desperate for her to be single for a second. We’ve never seen her single for any period of time and I think that that kind of relationship-hopping is not good.
What do you think she will be like on the single scene?
She doesn’t know what to do when she doesn’t have something to focus on to distract her. She’s always been kind of the mother figure, so I bet she would kind of go stir-crazy like she did when she was stuck in the house.
Frank’s health has been really deteriorating and it seems like he’ll definitely need a new kidney. Do you think Fiona is going to give him one of hers?
I hope not. At a certain point it’s like, “No, you’ve given enough.” And I also don’t think that would be a redeeming thing for her to necessarily do. I mean she’s gotta find a way to redeem [herself] that isn’t cutting her body open and giving a piece of it to somebody that’s never really cared about her until she was of medical use to him.
Would you be upset if Frank were to die on the show?
I think he is a necessary evil. Oh yeah, I wouldn’t like that.
It’s been difficult to watch Fiona and Lip in their falling out; there have been a lot of screaming matches. How do you prepare to shoot those scenes? Is it awkward at all after you just screamed at Jeremy Allen White to then go grab coffee together?
No, it’s such a release to get that kind of energy off you. I mean, you build it up during the rehearsal process and then you let it all out. It’s almost like a kettle that comes to a boil and when you let it out we can get a cup of tea or coffee. It’s enjoyable especially when you have an actor like Jeremy or Noel Fisher or Bill Macy, who are so adept and so present and so connected to their emotional life during the scene, that actually in a weird way the torture becomes fun.