Emmy Rossum Reflects on ‘Shameless’ Pay Standoff and Her Body-Shaming Bikini Audition
Weeks before her wedding to “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail, actress Emmy Rossum sat down for The Hollywood Reporter's annual Comedy Actress Roundtable, which also featured America Ferrera, Pamela Adlon, Minnie Driver, Kathryn Hahn and Issa Rae.
During their conversation, Rossum addressed her recent “Shameless” salary standoff, which was praised by many, including her co-star William H. Macy. In December, it was revealed that Rossum asked for salary parity with Macy for the future seasons of “Shameless,” which led to a “very, very long kind of stalemate negotiation."
She shared, “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… it felt a little bit more weighted in Fiona's direction. And I started to take on a directing hat and take a leadership role. So something that at one time felt OK that it was unbalanced started to feel not as good.”
"But it was difficult for me to say, 'This is what I think I deserve.' You do want to be liked,” Rossum admitted, but eventually mustered enough courage to express how she was feeling. "I waited for it to be up and then I said, 'I've loved my experience and I'm so happy and so proud and everything, but I just want this to be right if we're going to keep going.'”
After news broke about her fight for equal pay, Macy came to her defense. The 30-year-old commented, "To have the man counterpart on my show be like, 'Yes, she does deserve this and more,' was so validating. And after it became public, it was a quick resolution."
Along from gender equality, Emmy has also shared her thoughts on nudity, saying, "I think we should be equal opportunity P and D. But I only really want to see any nudity if there's a purpose for it. For me, I am okay to be as naked as you want me to be, within reason, if it applies to the story. If it serves the character.”
While she's appeared nude in “Shameless,” Rossum recently recalled a situation when she was asked to show up to a director's office in a bikini for a role, even though the movie didn't call for it. She said, "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.'”
Why did they ask her to wear a bikini? "He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question… 'We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is.' Are you f**king kidding me? Last time I checked, I'm not a f**king model.”
In response to her story, Emmy's former 'Phantom of the Opera' co-star Minnie Driver, who is now starring on “Speechless,” said about changing the narrative of Hollywood, "We change it by sitting here and talking about these things. We change it by writing shows, by directing."