How Emmy Rossum Is More Musical Than You Originally Thought

"Nothing of me is me," actor Emmy Rossum memorably told Deadline, of playing the iconic Angelyne in the hit Peacock show of the same name. Rossum has had a stunning transformation since entering the public eye, but the "Shameless" breakout spent seven hours a day in the makeup chair to transform into the Los Angeles legend — the real-life Angelyne rose to fame in the '80s after appearing on hundreds of billboards throughout the city, per Cosmopolitan

"The first time with all the makeup and prosthetics, it took 11 and a half hours," she told The AV Club. "We got it down to seven for the contemporary day look." To capture Angelyne's trademark blonde bouffant and flawless skin, a team of experts whittled the daily prosthetic and hair routine down to an exact science, as Rossum informed the New York Daily News, describing Angeleyne as "a punk-rock Barbie doll meets Marilyn Monroe meets Betty Boop/Hello Kitty with a little bit of Barbarella." 

The actor fully committed to capturing the mythos surrounding the billboard icon — prosthetic nose and all. Before Rossum starred in, and executive-produced, the buzz-worthy "Angelyne," she played the eldest Gallagher sister, Fiona, on Showtime's "Shameless." Though most fans became aware of the actor during her almost decade-long stint playing Fiona, Rossum's first major role involved something arguably even more challenging than managing a bunch of chaotic siblings.

Emmy Rossum has a strong background in opera singing

There's a lot fans don't know about Emmy Rossum. In fact, she contains just as many surprises as Angelyne herself. The actor got her start as a soprano in the New York theater scene. According to Playbill, she began appearing on the Metropolitan Opera stage at just 7 years old. By 16, Rossum had been chosen to star as Christine Daaé opposite Gerard Butler in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Broadway musical, "The Phantom of the Opera." 

As noted by Webber himself, "From the beginning Joel [Schumacher, director] and I always wanted a young and relatively unknown cast." Rossum's turn as Christine put her on the map, and she even became the youngest actor ever to be nominated for a Golden Globe, per Interview magazine. "I sing everywhere," Rossum told the outlet in 2013, right in the midst of her "Shameless" stardom. 

Rossum even recounted how she would sing for the local butchers as a child to earn a free hotdog. According to the actor, they lovingly called her "the little opera girl" as a result. In 2007, three years after playing the iconic Christine Daaé, Rossum released her debut album, "Inside Out." In 2013, she released her sophomore record, "Sentimental Journey" (via Self). 

The actor wasn't sure she was right for The Phantom of the Opera

According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Emmy Rossum initially felt like she didn't deserve her role in 2004's "The Phantom of the Opera." The actor admitted she, "Honestly never felt less sure of myself in every imaginable way," in an Instagram Story posted in December 2020. "I questioned my ability, my appearance, my right to be there." Moreover, Rossum had never seen the Broadway musical. 

However, she was advised not to by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself. As the "Shameless" star recounted to People, Webber specifically told her, "I want the character to come from inside you, if you play her." In September 2022, the New York production of "The Phantom of the Opera" announced that it would be closing its curtains for the final time the following February (via The New York Times). 

The show's ending came as a surprise to fans, especially since it's Broadway's longest-running show, wooing audiences at the Majestic Theatre since 1988. According to producer Cameron Mackintosh, "You don't want to run a great show into the ground." Mackintosh also reasoned, "It's always been one of my mantras throughout my long career: There's an art to closing a show, as well as opening one," (via The New York Times).