Emmy Rossum is lighting up the big and small screens in ‘Beautiful’ style
LOS ANGELES —There are moments in Hollywood that make your mind spin.
Emmy Rossum can take this one step further.
Her mind, legs, arms and the rest of her routinely were whipped around filming the new “Beautiful Creatures,” where she’s a sexy and very bad witch with issues.
“If I have a little temper tantrum, I can make entire rooms spin out of control,” laughs Rossum, who adds, “It’s actually a cool kind of power. There was something delicious about having that kind of fit on the big screen. All my jealousy, anger and temper were unleashed.
“In the body of this 20-year-old sexy witch, you have the mentality of a 3-year-old.”
In real life, Rossum’s head is also spinning these days. Her career has hit a major stride in the first weeks of 2013.
She vamps it up in “Beautiful Creatures” (now in theaters), based on the best-selling book and pegged as the new “Twilight.” There is also her hit series “Shameless,” now in its third season on Showtime.
Last month, she released “Sentimental Journey,” a CD of standards. “I had a little extra money and thought, ‘OK, I can buy a new car or make a record.’ I financed it myself and got a bunch of musicians.“I was in the creative control seat,” she says. “It was terrifying and empowering.”
“Beautiful Creatures” is a supernatural Southern love story revolving around teen lovers Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert), who must decide if she’s going to be a good or bad witch.
Rossum plays sexy, evil, older witch Ridley Duchannes, who clearly wants her cousin to go dark. She’s the ultimate bad girl.
“I like to think that I’m good at making people believe I’m good at things I’m not good at, like being bad,” Rossum says. “The key is I like finding the humanity and the emotional groundwork underneath a bad character. Why are they bad?”
Rossum read the “Beautiful Creatures” four-book series. “I went in and targeted this part. I really wanted it. And it didn’t fall into my lap,” she says. “I just wanted to play someone who was so fun and campy,. She’s larger-than-life and glamorous. But underneath it all, she had this childish, teenage bitchy quality that I thought was interesting.”
Rossum is equally fond of portraying Fiona Gallagher on “Shameless.”
“I love the series because it’s the opposite of my new film. In ‘Shameless, I’m so selfless and un-glamorous,” she says.
“I actually shot the movie and the series simultaneously. It was a case of wig and de-wig. Put your nails on, take your nails off. Put your vamp on, take your vamp off. It was fun to play polar opposites.”
Rossum is a native New Yorker who began singing and performing when she was seven years old. She has appeared in more than 20 operas in six different languages at Lincoln Center, where she has sung with Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. She’s best known for roles in “Mystic River” (2003), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004) and “Poseidon” (2006).
She’s still constantly asked about her starring role as Christine in the film version of the iconic Broadway musical “Phantom.”
“It was my first big movie. I was 17 and overwhelmed,” she admits.
Why didn’t it work at the box office? “It’s an opera, so there is that factor,” she reasons. “It was very much filmed like an opera, and maybe audiences weren’t expecting that component.”
As for future roles, she says, “I’m impulsive. I’ll do what captures my imagination and what can become a fun challenge. I honestly sit there and think, ‘Why do I want to jump into for the next five months?’ And then I jump.”
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