Shameless alum Emma Kenney admits the set was a more positive, less anxious place after longtime co-star Emmy Rossum left after season 9.
Emma Kenney, longtime Shameless cast member, opens up about her experience on set following Emmy Rossum’s exit after season 9. Shameless began as an American adaptation of a British series with the same name. The series was developed by John Wells for Showtime and began its run in January 2011. Set on the South Side of Chicago, the show follows the dysfunctional Gallagher family, their neglectful father, and his six children, as they learn to take care of themselves to survive poverty and the rough environment of their community. Kenney picked up her role as Debbie Gallagher, one of the middle children, in season 1 and grew up on set along with her costars.
The original Shameless cast included Rossum as Fiona Gallagher, the eldest daughter, and William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the father. They were also the two protagonists with the most screen time for the bulk of the show. When Rossum made her exit from Shameless, she called her years on the show “the best of my life.” However, Rossum’s departure came after a resolved challenge to be paid equally to her on-screen father. Rossum’s comments about her exit did not mention anything about the equal pay dispute being a contributing factor to her decision to leave the show.
With the final episode of Shameless having aired earlier this year, Kenney speaks about the difference in her experience on set before and after Rossum’s departure. Appearing on the Call Her Daddy podcast (via ET Canada), Kenney states the set was an overall more positive environment than when she was present. Kenney admits Rossum’s departure from the show was bittersweet because of the long, sisterly relationship they had formed over the years spent on set together. She says she was happy the show continued without Rossum because she enjoyed working on the set, though there was an adjustment period for Rossum’s absence. Read Kenney’s full comment below.
The set became more of a positive place. I remember pre her leaving, I’d go to set some days and I’d be very anxious having a scene with her because if she had a bad day, she made it a bad day for everybody.
The sisterly relationship between Kenney and Rossum was at times good and bad, according to Kenney. She states that even with a large age difference between them, there was an unspoken, reciprocated competition between the two of them on set. Kenney continues to say that she holds “a lot of love for Emmy” even though the two actresses haven’t spoken in years since Rossum didn’t return for the Shameless series finale.
Kenney grew up on the Shameless set among some very sensitive and serious content matter. Her eloquence and maturity in her conversation on the Call Her Daddy podcast demonstrate her awareness of what she was exposed to while she worked with Rossum. Never speaking ill about her longtime co-star, Kenney gave an honest reflection about Rossum’s impact on her as a young actor and how her absence revitalized her experience on set.
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