'Shameless' Star Emmy Rossum Reacts to Her Equal Pay Dispute Going Public
"Shameless" fans supported her fight for more pay after seven seasons of making much less than fellow lead William H. Macy. Her quest was successful, and Rossum told The Hollywood Reporter that Macy was actually her biggest champion through the process.
The subject came up deep into THR's Comedy Actress Roundtable, featuring Rossum, America Ferrera, Pamela Adlon, Minnie Driver, Kathryn Hahn, and Issa Rae. Rossum had been expecting questions about her "Shameless" contract talks, although not all of her fellow actresses had heard about it. Driver asked if her negotiations became a big problem. "I wouldn't say it was acrimonious," Rossum answered, "but after a very, very long kind of stalemate negotiation, it became public.
Driver continued, asking if the other side was trying to shame her. Rossum answered:
"I don't pretend to know anybody else's motivations, nor do I really care, because in the end, [everything turned] out just fine. But when we started the show, obviously Bill Macy was the green light for the show. It's Bill Macy. He's an Oscar nominee, and I was 22 years old. And then as the show started to really have legs ... It felt a little bit more weighted in Fiona's direction. And I started to take on a directing hat and take a leadership role. So something that at one time felt OK that it was unbalanced started to feel not as good."
She said she waited for her contract to be up, then said, "I've loved my experience and I'm so happy and so proud and everything, but I just want this to be right if we're going to keep going."
THR asked about the feedback she got. Rossum said:
"It wasn't public for a long time when it was going on. And when it was finally public, it kind of took me aback. But as it was happening, I'll tell you the person who supported me the most was William H. Macy. To have the man counterpart on my show be like, 'Yes, she does deserve this and more' was so validating. And after it became public, it was a quick resolution."
Adlon brought up how Suzanne Somers went through that with "Three's Company" but it didn't work for her and they fired her. These are different times (thankfully) and it seemed to help Rossum to have her dispute made public, whether that was done by a member of her own team or someone else.
The whole roundtable conversation is fascinating, and covers many topics, so check it out.
Showtime picked up "Shameless" for Season 8, with 12 new episodes going into production in 2017 for a premiere date to be named later.
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