‘Beautiful Creatures’ star has dizzying rise to fame
BY CINDY PEARLMAN February 13, 2013 5:02PM
Actress Emmy Rossum plays the sexy, evil witch Ridley Duchannes in "Beautiful Creatures." | Getty Images
Updated: March 16, 2013 6:19AM
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 i-s-s-u-e-s.
“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,” she says with a laugh during an interview at the SLS Hotel on a chilly Saturday morning.
In person, Rossum is gorgeous in an old-school type of way. Her long, curly black hair flows to her shoulders. Her thin frame sports a delicately knit salmon colored knit dress that’s demure and figure hugging at the same time.
She has a good sense of humor. Ask her to boil down her part of “Beautiful Creatures” and she says, “With my little fits, you could say that I’m actually playing a toddler in my new film.”
In real life, Rossum’s head is also spinning these days. Her career hit a major stride in the first weeks of 2013.
She vamps it up in the much-awaited flick “Beautiful Creatures” based on the bestselling book and pegged as the new “Twilight.” There is also her hit Showtime series “Shameless,” which is back.
Last week, she released her new CD of standards called “Sentimental Journey” that she financed on her own. “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,” which opened Thursday, Feb. 14, is a supernatural southern love story revolving around teen lovers Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and teen witch 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,” she says.
“The key is I like finding the humanity and the emotional groundwork underneath a bad character. Why are they bad?” she poses.
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 says. “She’s larger than life and glamorous. But underneath it all, she had this childish, teenage bitchy quality that I thought was interesting.
“Playing a selfish witch was such an out-of-the-box choice,” she says.
Rossum is also back as Fiona Gallagher on her hit series “Shameless” on Showtime.
“I love the series because it’s the opposite of my new film. In ‘Shameless, I’m so selfless and unglamorous,” she says.
“I actually shot the movie and the series simultaneously,” she says. “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,” she says.
Rossum is a native New Yorker who began singing and performing when she was only 7 years old. She has appeared in more than 20 operas in six different languages at Lincoln Center where she has sang with Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.
She’s best known for roles in “Mystic River” (2003), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), the bomb musical “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004) and “Poseidon” (2006).
She’s still constantly asked about “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. 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,” she says.
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