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The Real Reason Emmy Rossum Wasn't Allowed To Audition For Shameless

For the better part of its 11 season run on Showtime, the dysfunctional family dramedy known as "Shameless" was one of the best-loved shows airing in the cable TV landscape. And for nine of those seasons, Emmy Rossum was the breakout star of the series' talented ensemble cast. And with all due respect to the great William H. Macy, she was arguably the face of the series.

Though Rossum was one of the only central cast members to walk away from "Shameless" before the series ended its 134-episode run, the actor's gritty turn as the fiery, mostly well-intentioned, but frustratingly self-destructive Fiona Gallagher serving as the emotional core of the entire enterprise. It seems, however, that Emmy Rossum's road to playing the hard-living, makeshift matriarch of the Gallagher clan was far from an easy one. According to Rossum herself, she almost didn't get a chance to play what's become the signature role of her career to date, because "Shameless" producers wouldn't even allow her to audition. Here's why.   

Shameless producers apparently felt Rossum was too nice for the role of Fiona

If you were a fan of Rossum's work before her stint as, you likely understand their reticence. That's because Rossum had largely been relegated to playing the part of "nice girl" in film and television roles before breaking bad-ish on "Shameless." So clean cut was Rossum's image prior to "Shameless," in fact, producers on the series wouldn't even consider her for the role of Fiona as they just couldn't imagine her playing such a gritty role.

Rossum said as much in a 2014 interview with AOL., stating, "even for this show ['Shameless'], they didn't want to audition me. I had to send in my own audition tape and send it in and convince them to see me in person." The actor went on to admit her early roles didn't exactly provide proof she could carry a complicated character like Fiona Gallagher, "They knew me from 'The Phantom of the Opera' and that character's so unlike it [Fiona]. And I have that fashion-y persona that doesn't always translate to 'She's gritty, she's raw, she's unafraid to be real and go to ugly places.' So I had to prove myself."

Rossum did just that, showing "Shameless" producers a side of herself they'd clearly never seen in those self-made audition tapes. And it obviously didn't hurt that she did so with a vintage, Fiona-style "don't take no for an answer" sort of move either.