God knows that Showtime’s Shameless has been through the wringer for the last season, after facing an uncertain fate during Emmy Rossum’s fight for equal pay to co-star William H. Macy, the show only moved forward for a new season after Rossum’s demands were met. Now, gearing up for season eight of the Gallaghers, Rossum, Macy, and executive producer Nancy Pimental came to Vulture Festival this year.
While the panel delved into Rossum and Macy’s characters and the development of the story of the Gallaghers, they gave little insight into what we would be seeing in the upcoming season of the show. Here are our highlights from the panel.
- After being casted, the Gallagher family members were sent to a kind of family camp, where they were forced to bond together playing mini golf and other activities. “We were kind of forced together to be a family,” Rossum said.
- Behind the scenes, Pimental serves as one of the writers and producers of Shameless. Rossum lauded Pimental, saying, “We’re so lucky to have you, it’s important to have women’s voices.”
- Not nearly as shameless as their fictional counterparts, Rossum and Macy still joked and riffed like Fiona and Frank during the entire panel, bringing a liveliness to the conversation.
- The promotion of Shameless often makes it seem like the show is focused around either Fiona or Frank, but as Rossum says, “[This story] is about the Gallaghers.”
- If there was ever a doubt on the soul of the show, Pimental quoted John Wells, who said, “The show is called Shameless, if anyone is uncomfortable with it, then you shouldn’t be here.” This was in response to Emma Kenney, who plays Debbie, saying the word ‘twat’ when she was first cast at the age of 7.
- While it’s hard to think anyone who watched the emotional fight last season between Fiona and Frank would call it funny, Rossum and Macy lightened the mood in the room by revealing that filming and coordinating the physical fight between Frank and his daughters was actually funny. Rossum revealed that a lot of it was impromptus and that they were directed to go wild essentially.
- No one can say that they writing for Shameless isn’t top notch, and Macy agrees. “It’s good writing. It’s hard to act well with bad writing and hard to act bad with good writing.” Simple as that.
- Fiona has definitely made some questionable choices and serious mistakes in the past, but Rossum hesitates to judge or call her the villain. “You can never be judgemental about the character you’re trying to play,” Rossum explained, adding that, “A villain is never a villain in their story, they’re the hero.”
- And for anyone who thinks there’s anything but support between Macy and Rossum on her demand for a pay raise, Macy stood steadfast beside his co-star. “It just makes sense. You get there earlier, you work harder than everyone else,” he said. “It’s showbiz, and it’s their job to get us as cheaply as they can, and it’s our job to say no.”
- Macy’s most emotional scene to shoot was filming dying Frank in the makeshift Alibi Room that Sammi helped set up in Sheila’s house. “When I read it, I burst into tears,” Macy confessed. “I was scared of the scene, and I was just hoping I could step up.”
- Rossum’s most emotional scene to shoot when Fiona went to jail and had to get strip searched. “That kind of thing, that’s not fake. You really go there,” said Rossum on her physical expressions in the strip search scene that had no dialogue.
- Pimental’s own toughest scene to write was when Mickey came out to his family.
- Although there are certainly fan favorites that we wish had some more time on the screen — Milkoviches, to be honest — Pimental seemed to tease the crowd even more on their fates, “People always ask me if Sheila’s coming back, if Mickey’s coming back, and I say, you don’t want to know.” She followed up later, saying, “It’s harder to generate stories [for a character] that aren’t connected to a Gallagher.”
- And while there was an abundance of entertaining Trump-bashing at the Festival, Macy is sure that Frank would be a supporter. “I think he would dig him, I think he’d say, ‘It’s about time a politician spoke his mind,” Macy commented. “He’s [Frank] honest in a Trumpian sort of way. […] He’s entrepreneurial.”
Unfortunately little more was given away about when we’d see season premiere. Fans predicting October of this year might be disappointed, as assumptions seem to have shifted to early January of 2018. While there was certainly a lot of time invested into talking about characters and the writing process of Shameless, we’re desperate to know more. Where is JimmySteve? When will the Milkovich bunch make their return? What about Sheila? This might be a story about the Gallaghers, but they’ve certainly written more characters that we’ve fallen in love with and want to see more of.