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How Angelyne Damaged Emmy Rossum Physically

Throughout her career, Emmy Rossum has defied expectations. For many, she's best known as the gritty and selfless Fiona Gallagher in Showtime's "Shameless," as well as the sensitive opera singer Christine in Joel Schumacher's "The Phantom of the Opera," even though these two characters don't share much in common. The actress has a girl-next-door appearance, a singing voice that can bring down the rafters, and a fearlessness in her acting that puts her in the upper echelons of talent in Hollywood. After leaving "Shameless" in 2019, Rossum is challenging expectations again and returning to television screens with her title role in Peacock's biographical series, "Angelyne."

The series follows the mysterious titular character, a Los Angeles personality, who pioneered the idea of being famous simply for being famous in the 1980s (via The Hollywood Reporter). While others like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, or the Kardashians may have followed in Angelyne's footsteps, those celebrities also found fame thanks to the name and status of their parents. Angelyne, however, used nothing but strategically placed billboards and vague statements like "Angelyne rocks" to spark intrigue and fame.

Like most biographical projects, the actor portraying the subject endeavors to become the living embodiment of the character, transforming physically and even mentally to bring the role to life. For Emmy Rossum, becoming Angelyne was a long and arduous process. Here is what she had to say about the role's impact on her body.

It was a complete transformation

Most biographical films or series — like "Lincoln" or "Ali" — employ actors who at least generally resemble their subjects. In those instances, Daniel Day-Lewis and Will Smith had a head start when transforming into the historical people they portrayed. Rossum, on the other hand, holds very little resemblance to the flamboyant Angelyne, which made the transformation for "Angelyne" a physically taxing one.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Rossum says, "The physicality of the character was challenging. The body is heavy, yet it has to feel light and effervescent. But I just kept focusing on how lucky I felt. This opportunity is really every actor's dream. You raise your hand, and you say, 'Hey, I'd like to play this, and this is how I envision the story.'" The article continues on to describe the specific issues the transformation caused. The role took up a significant chunk of Rossum's time, as she had to spend for to five extra hours in the makeup chair before any co-stars arrived on set. Additionally, she had to wear fake breasts, which gave her blisters, and two pairs of contacts plus heavy eye makeup, which caused issues with her tear ducts.

But was it worth it? Her impressive transformation is one that can be admired by all who view the series. At least, all except one important viewer. Here is what the real-life Angelyne thinks of the series about her life.

The real Angelyne doesn't approve

Rossum didn't take the role of Angelyne lightly. Like any actor, she dove deep into the character to find the most authentic version of her she could. In another interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she explained what drew her to Angelyne: "The more that I learned about her, the more mystery there was with her, and I just thought, wow, what a conundrum — how can you be so known and yet so unknown at the same time?"

Paramount to that process of understanding the character she was going to play was a meeting she had with the real Angelyne. Rossum shared the one piece of advice the enigmatic star gave her for her approach to this series: "The one thing she told me was that she's a mirror, so whatever I saw in her, that's the story I should tell, and therefore it would be my story and not her story. And I thought that was so empowering." Rossum went on to express her hopes for Angelyne's reception of the series, stating, "I hope that she knows that this is a love letter to the fun and fantasy and the hot pink, Corvette-driving enigma that she is." She continued on to say that she hoped others would be able to appreciate Angelyne as a "trailblazer" after watching the show.

Unfortunately though, the star doesn't see the love part of the letter. In an interview with Inside Edition, Angelyne gave her thoughts on the series. "I had a little glimpse of it, and I refuse to watch it," she said. "It doesn't do me justice." She then poses the question, "Would you be flattered if someone played you and misrepresented you?" A 2017 article by The Hollywood Reporter allegedly revealed Angelyne's real identity, and in fact, this was the article that Rossum's Peacock series is based on. However, Angelyne reiterated to Inside Edition that she was born as Angelyne and the person exposed in The Hollywood Reporter wasn't her. Her insistence that it isn't her makes one wonder if she disapproves of the series because it isn't close enough to the real her ... or perhaps it's too close to revealing her true identity.