Date of Birth
12 December 1986, New York City, New York, USA
Emmanuelle Grey Rossum
5' 8" (1.73 m)
It would seem that 2004, the year of her 18th birthday, will be remembered as pivotal for Emmy Rossum due to her appearance in two very different films, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and The Phantom of the Opera (2004). Emmy's performance in the latter film gained her a Golden Globe nomination.
Emmanuelle Grey Rossum was born in New York City, where she was raised by her single mother, Cheryl Rossum, a corporate photographer (she has only met her father a few times). Her mother is of Russian Jewish descent and her father has English and Dutch ancestry. After passing an audition at the Metropolitan Opera when she was 7 years old, Rossum performed in more than 20 operas in six different languages at Lincoln Center, alongside such figures as PlÃ¡cido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. She was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in "Carmen." She left the opera when she entered her teenage years, as she had grown too tall to perform as a child. Emmy also appeared in a Carnegie Hall presentation of "The Damnation of Faust." She graduated from the Spence School, a private institution in Manhattan, in 1996 and then earned a high school diploma when 15 years old by taking online extension courses offered by Stanford University (Education Program for Gifted Youth). She later enrolled at Columbia University and studied art history and French.
In a change of venue, Emmy created the role of Abigail Williams in the daytime soap opera As the World Turns (1956) in 1997 and branched out in performances in the made-for-television movies Genius (1999) and The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000), in which she played the title character as a young teenager. Other television work included Snoops (1999), Law & Order (1990), and The Practice (1997).
Emmy made her theatrical feature debut in the indie film Songcatcher (2000), with her good friend Rhoda Griffis, which won the Special Jury Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2000. Rossum received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of Best Debut Performance for her performance as an Appalachian orphan. She played an aspiring songwriter (the title character) in the romantic comedy Nola (2003). Cast as the ill-fated daughter of a small-business owner in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003), she projected an aura of innocence that made her character's tragic death memorable and heartbreaking. This was her first major studio film.
After six months of filming her role as the fresh-faced but highly intelligent teenage damsel in distress The Day After Tomorrow (2004) in Montreal, she returned to New York and screen-tested for the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) in full costume and makeup, and was finally selected for the part by Andrew Lloyd Webber after singing for him at his home. Although she was surprised to be chosen ahead of many better-known and older actresses considered for the part, the combination of her vulnerable, fragile beauty and fine, classically trained singing voice ultimately proved that she was perfectly cast. In preparation for the role, she took ballet classes for two months and started polishing her singing. Emmy has commented that, in her approach to acting, she draws heavily upon her own experiences, so she visited locations in Paris and conjured up what she terms "past memories" to draw upon in making her performance emotionally realistic. She stood on the roof of the OpÃ©ra Garnier, where Christine sings "All I Ask of You," and went underneath the opera house, where there is actually a gloomy, dark lake. She studied Degas's paintings of ballerinas in the MusÃ©e d'Orsay to learn how to stand like one.
Her next project Poseidon (2006) was a mainstream effort, but since its release, she has been more true to advice she obtained from Sean Penn when making Mystic River (2003), that she should be picky and only accept roles that are fun to do, such as Dragonball: Evolution (2009).
Attended the Spence School in Manhattan, an elite private girls' school that was also attended by Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington.
Has appeared in 20 different operas singing in five languages.
Had never seen the stage version of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) prior to filming the screen version.
Made her stage debut at seven years of age (she sang "Happy Birthday" for her audition) at the New York Metropolitan Opera. She made $5 a night singing with the children's choir. According to her, "There were horses onstage that were getting $150".
Her father is a banker and her mother is a corporate photographer.
Took cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in London.
In preparation for her role in The Phantom of the Opera (2004), she attended a sÃ©ance at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britian, where a medium talked to her about her late grandmother.
Won Best Young Actress in 2004 Critic's Choice Awards
She obtained her high school diploma online via a Stanford University program.
Has celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the body can't tolerate any foods containing gluten or wheat.
Is an only child.
Her favorite actors are Sean Penn (her Mystic River (2003) co-star) and Miranda Richardson (her The Phantom of the Opera (2004) co-star).
Attending Columbia University.
Hobbies include reading, horseback riding, and ballet.
Currently recording a pop album for Geffen Records [April 2006]
Cousin is Cecilia Becker, daughter of world-famous designer Vera Wang.
Her favorite designer is Ralph Lauren.
She is a fan of Audrey Hepburn. She played the teenage Hepburn in The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000).
Her favorite opera is "Carmen".
Used to be a vegetarian.
Studied acting with Flo Salant Greenberg of the Actor's Workshop in New York City for several years.
Is very close friends with singer/actress Ashlee Simpson.
Best friends with Leighton Meester, the actress and budding singer.
Was ranked #48 on Maxim magazine's Hot 100 of 2010 list.
Her father has English and Dutch ancestry. Her mother's family is Russian Jewish.
Currently filming Dare (2009), a full-feature film from the Short Film of the same name (can be seen on "Logo"). [May 2008]
Currently a spokesperson with a series of public service announcements for "Pinkitude.com", a breast cancer awareness website. [January 2009]
Manhattan, NY [March 2011]
Currently taking classes at Columbia University in the City of New York [December 2004]
[September 2014] In a relationship with Sam Esmail.
Engaged to Sam Esmail [September 1, 2015].
Worked with Justin Chatwin on both Dragonball: Evolution (2009) as characters who are friends and then in Shameless (2011-2015) as lovers.
[on her audition with Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Phantom of the Opera (2004)] He had the most magnificent apartment I had ever seen and I was floored by it. I went in and started vocalizing with the accompanist and Andrew walked in as we were preparing. He didn't say hello, didn't introduce himself, and just sat down in front of me and said, "Shall we?" I thought to myself it was my one shot so I had better just stand up and do it, so I didn't introduce myself, I nodded to the accompanist and I did the two biggest numbers in the show. Then he stood up and said, "That was great. I'm Andrew."
[regarding her visit to a psychic who told her some accurate things about her late grandmother] I'm a very rational person but I pray every day.
The truth is, I probably didn't want to be friends with some of those girls [from prep school], because I found that a lot of their values were a little specious. Now, of course, all those girls are calling me and being like, "We should have lunch!" and I'm like, "Um . . . don't you remember how you didn't like me that much?"
I'm heavy on preparation . . . Some actors come to the set and don't know what scene they're playing, but that would make me crazy. It's not about control but perfectionism--my biggest vice and one of my biggest assets.
I'm convinced wearing those corsets for 14 hours at a time deformed me for life. I was 16 years old and still growing at the time of the shooting. I could barely breathe, and with Christine's intense emotions I hyperventilated and almost passed out. I think her name is Christine for a reason. She is Christ-like.
[about kissing Patrick Wilson in The Phantom of the Opera (2004)] In this one scene, it took three days to shoot and it's the scene where my character passionately kisses her fiancÃ© for the first time. It was so complex with the snow coming down that it took three days to shoot. By the end of the three days I'd kissed him so much that my lips had swollen up--so much that I had to use an ice pack in between takes. Hardship, I know!
I like RenÃ© Descartes' theory about a ball of wax. You can change its form from solid to liquid, but it's still the same ball of wax. With acting, you are the same person in a different form. You can only be what you know, and you only truly know yourself.
Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood have told me that I shouldn't feel that I need to be in the limelight or the spotlight all the time. A career is about longevity, as shown in their careers. So, I really want to only do the best things and work with the best people. That's what I strive to do.
I think of all my roles, I was best in Genius (1999).
... I'm on a TV show, which I'm so lucky to be on. It pays my rent, so I don't need to make a ton of money on music, and music has always been my first love. I'm not in this business for fame or money. That's something I learned from being a kid at the Met. The kids weren't unionized. We made 25 bucks a night and there were horses onstage - no joke - that were making $800. So when you're valued, at least monetarily, less than a farm animal, you realize you're there because you really love it.
[on if it it's a part of her career strategy to not be typecast as "a young hottie starlet"] ...actually don't think I have a strategy. I think in terms of instinct, if in my gut it feels like the right character, if I feel it's a story that needs to be told. Of course in retrospect it was an excellent idea to go do something that was not glamorous, because I think people did see me as princess-y after The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Poseidon (2006) and big-budget movies. Looking back on it, if it was a strategy it would have been a really good one. It happened that I ended up emotionally attaching to a character that I was the right age for when they were casting it. This show [Shameless (2011)] had also been around for a couple of years. There was another incarnation of it at HBO with Woody Harrelson in the William H. Macy role, so I wouldn't have been the right age for it at that time. So much of Hollywood is luck.
[on if it appealed to her that the character of Fiona in _Shameless (2011)_ is not glamorous] Yes, it did appeal to me to have a character who isn't in the least vain. As an actor, your own personal vanity can be a massive pitfall in terms of making a character believable. I feel more in this character to have my shoulders hunched and be in tattered clothes and have my hair knotted than I do when I'm dolled up.
Men only need two things - grilled cheese and sex.