Emmy Rossum Previews Shameless Season 2: Fiona's 'Playing the Field' and 'Acting Out'

Is it too soon to crank up the air-conditioning? When Season 2 of Showtime’s Shameless kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 8 (at 9/8c), the Gallaghers will be smack-dab in the middle of a sweltering Chicago summer. And the heat… it can do funny things to people. Just ask Fiona’s portrayer, Emmy Rossum. Here, she opens up to TVLine about her character’s, um, extracurricular activities, her broken heart, keeping the family afloat and that wild card Jasmine.

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TVLINE | How does the show being set in the summer this season change things for the Gallaghers?
The dynamic, obviously, between the family and the initiative to make money and survive is still there, but it’s lost in a much warmer color palate. Just the feeling of it being hot, sweaty summer fun is really fun for us to play. The Gallaghers are doing a lot better. They make a lot more money in the summer that they use to keep them [going] through the whole winter.

TVLINE | What kind of tricks do they turn to make a buck?
What don’t they do to make money, really? Fiona is working at a nightclub as a waitress. Then, during the day, her younger sister and brother, Debbie and Carl, run a daycare service that she is the face of. Like, she fronts it – she accepts the kids in the morning and then sends them back to their parents in the afternoon — but she really sleeps most of the day. That’s the No. 1 scam they’re running. And Lip is running an ice cream truck business that doesn’t just sell ice cream. It sells mostly pot and cigarettes and booze to anyone over 13.

TVLINE | The summer also seems to have Fiona kind of in heat.
For sure! She’s definitely playing the field and [spreading] herself a little thin. I think she’s definitely acting out, because she really got her heart broken. She couldn’t leave her family at the end of the first season. She definitely made the right decision. But she gave up the man that she was falling in love with. She’s acting out and trying to fill that hole that he left with all these other guys that are not so great.

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TVLINE | There are quite a few handsome men in Fiona’s life this year – James Wolk, Taylor Kinney.
[It’s] mantastic this year! [Laughs]

TVLINE | Can you talk about who they’re playing and Fiona’s interactions with them?
James Wolk plays a kind of Steve 2.0. He’s an investment banker. He’s dark-haired. He’s sarcastic and fun. But at the same time, he doesn’t have the heart and the substance that Steve had, and she really misses that. He doesn’t blend into her family at all the way that Steve did. So she isn’t really taking him very seriously. And when he pushes her buttons about her past and her running track, she really pushes back against that. She’s not ready to let somebody into her heart the way she did with Steve. … Then you have her going down this path of being morally a little bit in a gray area and a little bit more corrupt. She finds herself sleeping with this married man (Kinney) and really gets her comeuppance. [She] realizes if she’s not careful, Frank Gallagher is in her blood, and he’s going to prevail.

TVLINE | And what’s going on with Steve? When can we expect to see him again?
I think he’ll make a comeback later in the season. The situation has definitely changed. He’s gone and made some pretty big life changes. We start to see in the fourth episode that she’s really missing him and reaching out for him.

TVLINE | Amy Smart is back as Jasmine, and she’s a little wilder this season. What kind of trouble is she going to pull Fiona into?
Her character will be explained more in the very middle chunk of the season. She’ll be around for a while. It’s going to be interesting to see exactly what she wants from Fiona, because that’s always been such a gray area.

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TVLINE | She kissed you last season. What was that about?
She does that this year, too! Jasmine is an equal opportunity maker-outer. Fiona’s very nonjudgmental, so we’ll see how that relationship develops and how Fiona responds to Jasmine.

TVLINE | Do you think there’s a part of Jasmine that likes Fiona in that way?
Oh yeah, for sure! Not a lot of girls kiss each other on the mouth and grab each other’s ass. There’s definitely a tinge of [attraction]… Whether Jasmine’s just lonely and she wants companionship or she likes Fiona or she’s just really comfortable with herself, we’ll come to understand.

TVLINE | Fiona always has a lot on her plate, but what’s the biggest challenge for her this season?
We’ll start to see her try to figure out who she is outside of just being a mother figure to everyone and see if she can finish her education and try to get a job.