Justin Chatwin Previews Shameless Season 3: 'There's a Breaking Point Where Jimmy Loses It'

Episode 301When Showtime’s Shameless returns for Season 3 this Sunday at 9/8c, Jimmy and Fiona’s romance will have taken a turn towards… domesticity!

Now that they’re living together, the honeymoon period is over, and the harsh realities of becoming a Gallagher are setting in for Jimmy. Plus, the former con man’s past is catching up with him, and the results will not be pretty, his portrayer Justin Chatwin previews below.

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TVLINE | It seemed like Jimmy and Fiona were coming to a good place at the end of Season 2. Where does the new season find them?
The new season finds their roles reversed. Fiona has become a bit of a hustler, and Jimmy’s become “Mr. Mom.”

TVLINE | Does he like that role reversal?
One of the qualities that I really love about the character is that he isn’t afraid of change, and he embraces change from the beginning. He’s such a man that [he] can put on different hats and play different characters. He kind of enjoys playing a mother, a homemaker. The only problem is Fiona is somebody who opposes change because she hasn’t had stability, and she tries to create stability. So with Jimmy, I don’t think she likes this hat. She likes the con man. Fiona is the epitome of children of alcoholics in America, and she’s attracted to essentially her father. What caught her eye in the pilot was that this well-to-do, good-looking guy was a thief, was a con man, was exciting, was passionate. The show is about instability, a house that’s standing on a toothpick, and that’s their relationship. Passion and excitement cannot be sustained 24/7. A challenge that they’re both facing is moving into a real relationship, which isn’t about passion, [but] doing things for the greater good.

TVLINE | Jimmy didn’t have the best family life, so is he trying to fill a hole here by over-doing it, being the “mom” now in this family?
Absolutely. He grew up in a family where there was no communication and where love was bought, where other people took care of him. He comes into the second season trying to buy people’s love, and he realizes it doesn’t work. The third season is all about really becoming a Gallagher and immersing himself in this world of being face-to-face with people, which means over-communication and raw honesty. There’s really positive attributes to a Gallagher, but he also starts to look at the realities of where he’s living and how he’s living, and it’s not all great.

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TVLINE | Yeah. It’s a big change from the penthouse.
Yeah. And there’s a lot of Jimmy’s castle that begins to crumble this year. His family life starts to fall apart, and everything that anchored him and everything he had built to stand on in his life starts to fall away. He comes from a family of people that live two lives. His father lives two lives. His mother lives two lives. He lives two lives. And Steve, who is the “James Bond character,” a man of action, not a man of contemplation or thinking about his actions, starts to die. All that Jimmy/Steve is left with is Jimmy, who is a un-mothered boy.

TVLINE | Are we going to be finding out more about his family background?
Absolutely. Harry Hamlin, who plays my father, is great, and we start having more and more interaction. You see a lot of the similarities of why Jimmy is the way that he is, and it’s quite hilarious. Essentially, his father starts to lose everything, and through seeing that, Jimmy starts to see himself, and that’s where he starts coming to terms with who he is, where he is. The allure and rebellion of living with the Gallaghers in poverty…  starts to sober [Jimmy] up. To me, Steve’s story is essentially about him falling apart and finding out who he really is, which is something he doesn’t really like. [Laughs]

TVLINE | It doesn’t sound like he and Fiona are in the happiest of places this season.
They’re not in the happiest of places, but they’re probably in the most honest of places.

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TVLINE | Does the question of marriage ever pop up for them?
In every scene, the question of commitment comes up, and its tension is highly loaded because Jimmy is a liar. He’s a fox, a trickster. And Fiona is a child of an alcoholic, and alcoholics are liars. … The two of them are trying their best, because they love each other, to work. But their instincts, everything they’ve been taught, are telling them the complete opposite of really how they should be taking mature steps into moving forward.

Episode 302TVLINE | Now that he’s living with the family, is there a particular dynamic between Jimmy and one of the other Gallaghers that you’ve really enjoyed playing?
He becomes a dad, so I spend a lot of time with Liam this year. [Laughs] I got peed on several times while he was on my back.

TVLINE | They’re introducing Estefania’s father. How’s that going to complicate Jimmy’s life?
Because Jimmy/Steve has been juggling so many plates, plates start to fall, and his past starts to catch up with him.

TVLINE | Without giving too much away, he sees some pretty terrible things happening around him this season. Does he have a threshold? Is there a point in which he’s going to crack?
Yeah. There’s a breaking point for Jimmy/Steve in this season where he loses it. [Laughs]

TVLINE | And does he ever get a real job?
Yes. It’s pretty funny.