The premise of Shameless isn’t actually new since it is based off of the UK version and there have been a number of other American shows that revolved around impoverished families and the antics they got into. Yet, there is something truly special about this American show. While it definitely has its own fair share of twists and turns and shocking plot lines, it’s the amazing mix of the cast of characters that truly makes the show stand out from all the other options on television. There is a special mix of actors that appear in the series, with many of the names being known from some of their other memorable works. From William H. Macy to Emmy Rossum, this isn’t a series with a bunch of unknown actors hoping to get their big break on Showtime. Instead, it’s a great mix of seasoned actors and up-and-coming names and faces to create the perfect mix in this highly acclaimed series.
While the majority of the draw to the show is the intense drama of living in an impoverished state, the relationship dynamics play a huge role in allowing audiences to relate to the characters. The fact that the Chicago location plays a huge role in the series is also a big reason why many fans have been drawn to the series. Whether you’re a fan because of the characters or you just love seeing the intricacies of the storyline and setting, there are a few secrets from the set that even the biggest fan of the series aren’t aware of. Check out our list of the 15 secrets from the set of Shameless and see the little tidbits you might have missed regarding this hit Showtime series.
15. Parties During Promos
It’s not every series that can boast having a cast that all get along and actually enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there have been a number of shows that were famous for its actors fighting behind the scenes and struggling to get shoots together. Yet, the cast of Shameless are famous for how much fun they have while working together. When the cast was gathered to shoot some promotional photos for the start of Season 5, the actors didn’t just suffer through the activity. Instead, they made sure to make the most of their day and even got a bit “cheeky” when they mooned some patrons at a restaurant. Even Emmy Rossum got in on the fun when her character, Fiona Gallagher, let her feelings known to the locals. However, this isn’t an isolated incident for the cast. William H. Macy, the actor that plays Frank Gallagher, stated that the cast always has a great time during promo shoots.
14. Patsy’s Pies Is A Real Location
One of the best parts of a series being filmed on location is the way that environment can become part of the show. Shameless is filmed in Los Angeles and Chicago, so it can be a bit tricky trying to mix the locations in order to make it covey the same storyline. However, it is still much better than doing all the scenes on a soundstage and having sets constructed for the entirety of the show. Just as Sex and the City let the New York City setting become part of the series, Chicagoans have loved seeing one of its local restaurants used as a backdrop in Shameless. When Fiona was released from jail and got a job at a diner, Patsy’s Pies became part of the show. Yet, Chicago locals were quick to see that Patsy’s Pies was actually The Golden House Restaurant.
13. Cast Partakes In Chicago Favorites
When actors are told where they will be filming, true foodies will inevitably let their minds wander to what they will be eating during that time. While craft services can be pretty good at various locations, nothing can be as delectable as delving into the food enjoyed by the locals. The cast of Shameless have taken advantage of the food options offered in Chicago, while filming in the city. There are a number of social media posts from the actors showing how often they all get together to grab a bite out in Chicago. Shanola Hampton, the actress that plays Veronica Fisher, gave a 2016 interview with Michigan Avenue magazine and was asked what her favorite restaurant is in Chicago. She named the usual Lou Malnati’s for Chicago-style pizza and even Rosebud for Italian food but the real kicker was her love of Portillo’s, which she claimed she eats every single day while in Chicago.
12. Emmy Rossum Glad To Be Plain
Emmy Rossum is an actress that has been in a number of memorable films over the course of her career, with some having her portray ultra glamorous characters. One of the most glamorous characters she portrayed on the big screen was in the 2004 hit, The Phantom of the Opera, but her character in Shameless is anything but glamorous. While most actresses would be a bit hesitant to show themselves so lackluster for the world to see, Rossum has been vocal about how pleased she is at not having to be “all glam” for the series. Not only does it offer a simplistic look for Rossum on the series but it also helps with prep time before filming. Not everyone enjoys having to spend hours in the makeup chair before shooting their scene and it seems like Rossum is an actress that doesn’t get all hung up over how she appears onscreen.
11. Mandy And Lip Are Together In Real-Life
It’s not uncommon for actors to fall in love with their costars when starring together in film or in a television series. In fact, this is actually a huge way actors have met their future spouses. From Tom Hanks meeting Rita Wilson while filming Sleepless in Seattle to LeAnn Rimes meeting her future husband, Eddie Cibrian, on the set of a TV movie, costars can be the go-to option for actors looking for love. Yet, there are some onscreen characters that audiences root for when it comes to real-life love. In the case of Mandy Milkovich and Lip Gallagher, Shameless fans should be happy to know that the actors playing these characters actually fell in love back in October 2011. Emma Greenwell and Jeremy Allen haven’t gone out of their way to flaunt their relationship in Hollywood but they have been known to post a few photos via social media.
10. Real-Life Gallagher Home
When producers were thinking about the main storyline of Shameless, they had the difficult task of trying to convey the depths of poverty in a way that was relevant to regular society. Unlike other shows like My Name Is Earl, this was not going to be a series that would go overboard in depicting a poverty-stricken environment. Instead, it chose to use a regular home in a Chicago neighborhood. The actual street address for the Gallagher home is 2119 S. Homan Avenue in Chicago but there are distinct variations regarding the locale. Fans of the series have tried to visit the Gallagher home while driving around Chicago but they’ve been surprised to see that the show doesn’t accurately depict the real home. In actuality, the house is in a much sketchier part of Chicago than depicted in the series and the interior shots of the home are filmed in Los Angeles.
9. Hand Me Down Pool
Emmy Rossum is an actress that isn’t exactly known for having a multitude of nude and sex scenes throughout her acting career. In fact, many of her character portrayals have actually been quite tame. Yet, during the premiere season of Shameless, Rossum’s character partook in a skinny dipping scene that had viewers’ tongues wagging. On closer inspection, the pool that Fiona visited during her topless scene may have looked a little familiar. The scene was filmed in the same pool that Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe visited in the 1999 film, Cruel Intentions. The actual pool is at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles and must be a favorite for films that are looking to get a little risqué in a beautiful indoor pool setting.
8. Handing Over The Reigns
When it comes to television shows versus films, fans might be surprised to know that it’s not always the same director that shoots every episode. In the case of Shameless, there have been quite a few directors that have come in to try their hand at shooting various episodes throughout the many seasons of the show. With such a successful series, it is interesting that there would be so much freedom in who the show would allow to direct its episodes. One director that was the most surprised was actress, Emmy Rossum. In October 2016, Rossum gave an interview with Variety and talked about her directorial debut with the series. She stated, “I had wanted to do it for awhile. Working so closely with John Wells and our original director Mark Mylod, the real authentic connection they had to the characters in this family I felt the same passion and protectiveness and excitement about telling that story.”
7. Actress Picked For Character
When it comes to casting for a series, there are usually preconceived notions on what the characters should look like prior to the first audition. In fact, the descriptions of what the producers are looking for are usually the main way actors are even considered. For example, oftentimes Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz crossed paths throughout their early careers because they were often called to audition for parts in search of beautiful Hispanic women with an accent. Yet, not all characters are rigid in their initial descriptions. In the case of Shameless, the character of Fiona Gallagher was initially described as an “average-looking overweight blonde girl.” However, they wound up choosing the ultra-slender and brunette, Emmy Rossum, instead. Rossum must have truly impressed them in her initial auditions or the producers were able to see how right she was for the part early on.
6. Smoking On Camera
It’s a given that Shameless tells the story of a majorly dysfunctional family, especially with Fiona having been to prison and Lip selling drugs and alcohol to kids. While the series offers huge discrepancies from the actual actors playing the role of the characters, there are some similarities that might surprise fans. In the first season of the show, there were supposed to be quite a few characters that smoked cigarettes. However, Emmy Rossum doesn’t smoke in real-life and either does Cameron Monaghan. Jeremy Allen White gave an interview with Vulture in 2012 and spoke about how audiences could tell the difference when an actor was “pretending” to smoke onscreen. The producers ultimately got rid of Emmy and Cameron smoking on the show but White’s character maintained his smoking because he is a smoker in real life. White stated that the series has him smoking a cigarette in practically every scene he’s in and as a tidbit fact, he told Vulture that he smokes Camel Lights.
5. Secrets Kept From The Cast
One of the biggest issues surrounding television shows with a lot of twists and turns is the fact that the series must keep it hidden from the audience until the moment of reveal. From leaked scripts to actors accidentally letting a tidbit slip out during an interview, sometimes the biggest spoilers can come from insiders from the show. In an effort to make sure the secret of Justin Chatwin returning into the series remained hidden, showrunners kept it a secret from the other cast members as well. In the 2014 season finale, fans of the series weren’t the only ones in shock over the return of Jimmy/Steve. The cast of Shameless sent out tweets to express just how shocked they were at his return since even they were kept in the dark.
4. Sex Scenes Aren’t So Bad
When it comes to scenes that require an actress to appear completely nude or topless, there are variations in what an actress feels about it. Some actresses are completely against it and go out of their way to fight having to appear nude for a role. Yet, there are also some actresses that are completely fine with having to show off their bodies in order to convey the character. In the case of Emmy Rossum, she definitely had her reservations about having to go so far out of her comfort zone as the character of Fiona. In a 2011 interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Rossum stated, “It’s definitely an acquired experience. You look over, and the camera guy is very politely averting his gaze between takes.” This says a lot about the crew’s willingness to try and make things less painful for the actresses forced to undergo some of the raunchier scenes.
3. Weather Doesn’t Always Cooperate
The reason why so many actors favor shooting a television series is the fact that the actual time spent filming isn’t nearly as long as a feature film. In fact, this was a huge draw in getting some of the hottest actors in Hollywood to fight over the HBO series, True Detective, because it was such a short amount of time they would need to commit to a role. In the case of Shameless, there is actually a very short amount of time when the actors are actually filming in Chicago. However, one thing about filming in Chicago is the fact that the weather won’t always cooperate with whatever needs to be done. A prime example is when Shanola Hampton, the actress that plays Veronica Fisher, gave an interview with The New Potato in 2015 and was asked what the craziest thing that ever happened on the Shameless set. Her response was, “We were caught in a major blizzard! It was like Armageddon! We shut down production and one of my cast mates snow surfed while holding onto the back of a truck! No board – just with his boots on.”
2. Secrets To A “Real” Sex Scene
There have been a lot of secrets told over the years on how an actor can maintain his modesty when filming a nude scene. In fact, the Game of Thrones’ actor, Jason Momoa, made headlines when it was revealed that he wore a bright pink sock over his manhood during a sex scene with Emilia Clarke. Perhaps he did it to lighten the mood since he was essentially raping Clarke’s character in the episode. Whatever the case, actors often have to wear some sort of sock apparel item to maintain their modesty onscreen. Yet, there isn’t much said about what an actress wears in order to maintain modesty. Emmy Rossum revealed a bit of information regarding what Shameless does in order to help out the female actors and stated, “We like it to be realistic but not real. But I wear something I call the ‘vag pad.’ It’s kind of a little triangular panty liner that you stick to you.”
1. Kids Growing Up On Set
When a series successfully continues on a storyline season after season, audiences are able to watch the actor age in real-time. This is true for older actors but even more so for children. When Shameless first aired its premiere episode in Season 1, no one could have guessed how long the series would go and how much some of the younger characters would grow up in front of the cameras. In the case of Emma Kenney, fans have been amazed at her transformation into a beautiful young lady. In a 2016 interview with Pop Mania, Kenney offered some insight into how she gets along with the others members of the cast. She reiterated all the other statements on how well the cast gets along but added some tidbit information about how close-knit the cast has been since the very start. She claimed her favorite part of being on the show is how the other characters remember her from her younger years. She stated, “I really like the idea that we have all grown together on set. It’s nice to have such a long-term and solid relationship with people because it’s truly like a family.”