When we last saw Fiona Gallagher — in the Season 1 finale of “Shameless” — she had decided not to take off with her boyfriend, Steve, and instead continue to take care of her large family in Chicago.
Zap2it spoke with star Emmy Rossum ahead of the Season 2 premiere on Sunday, Jan. 8, and she filled us in on what her character’s been up to all winter. The whole family’s pretty busy during the summertime, which is when we catch up with the Gallaghers.
“I think [they] make a lot of money during the summer months,” Rossum says. “Lip and Kev run the ice cream truck, which sells a lot more than ice cream. Fiona’s gotten a job with Veronica at this cool nightclub where she makes a lot of money in tips as a waitress and there’s bottle service and stuff like that. She works at night and sleeps during the day. The [rest of the] kids run this successful daycare service out of the house, which Fiona at least appears to be running for the parents because she’s there for pickup and dropoff, but she’s really sleeping most of the day.”
Relationship-wise, Fiona is playing the field. “She’s been doing a little bit of nursing her wounds about Steve, and she’s getting back out there, clearly,” Rossum says.
In the premiere, we meet the first of three new guys piquing Fiona’s interest this season, played by “Lonestar” leading man James Wolk. “He’s dark and a little bit of a fast, about-town kind of guy,” Rossum says. “He’s an investment banker. He and Fiona are definitely just having fun — I don’t know how much they connect on an emotional level. I think it’s just kind of a physical, fun relationship. We see that she’s not really willing to open up.”
“Vampire Diaries” hottie Taylor Kinney will pop up in later episodes as another conquest, Rossum says. “He is the guy that she was always crushing on in high school, but he’s married now. With kids. Very complicated.”
Plus, she says, “There’s another guy who’s going to come on in addition to those two who’s older and a different type and they don’t mesh together at all, so it’s interesting to see how much she really did love Steve and she does feel that a part of herself is missing.”
But don’t worry — Steve won’t be gone forever. “As the season progresses we’ll definitely find out where Steve went and what he’s doing now, but I think it’ll take a lot for Steve and Fiona to be back together,” Rossum confesses. “I don’t know if we’ll see that very soon.”
Instead, Fiona will focus on herself — a strange experience for someone who’s never really thought about her role in life other than caretaker to her siblings. “She wants to know what else she could have in life,” Rossum says. “The kids are growing up a little bit, so she is able to take more control of her life. But there’s a stress in that too, because she hasn’t had to focus on herself. Sometimes it’s easier not to focus on yourself and what your own goals are and to put that off onto other people.”
Rossum continues: “She has to start evaluating, as the kids get older, who she is aside from this mother figure. We’ll see her think about going back to school and trying to get her GED. She’s definitely a hard worker, but she doesn’t feel as if she’s book smart at all. It’s interesting to see her struggle through that and to see her navigate the waters of being single and playing the field.”
And, in case you’re wondering, “playing the field” means lots of sex. And nudity — this is Showtime, after all. Rossum says she never thought twice about the risque nature of the show. “If we’re showing alcoholism and poverty and domestic violence in the way that we are — in an honest way — then why wouldn’t we show nudity and sexuality in an open and honest way? I hate when you see a scene and a girl wakes up and she looks gorgeous and her eyeliner is still perfect and she’s wearing a $300 La Perla bra. Nobody wakes up like that. Fiona certainly can’t.”
In fact, Rossum says, “In the first season we had a theory that Fiona didn’t even own a bra. So every time Fiona was wearing a sweater or a T-shirt it was kind of baggy like she couldn’t afford a bra. Now we’re shooting summer, so we didn’t have a choice this year. We had to go with bras. Fiona bought a bra.”