It takes a lot to be a bombshell. Emmy Rossum transformed into busty billboard queen Angelyne for the eponymous Peacock series, premiering May 19, but the physical embodiment of the performance artist took a toll on the “Shameless” alum.
Rossum, who also executive produces the series alongside husband and “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail, revealed that she spent an average of four to five hours in makeup every day and bleached her eyebrows for the role. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Rossum also got blisters from the fake breasts and suffered tear duct issues from wearing two pairs of contact lenses.
“The physicality of the character was challenging,” Rossum told the outlet. “The body is heavy, yet it has to feel light and effervescent…I found it to be completely liberating to look in the mirror and not see myself at all. At first, it’s unnerving. But feeling lost gives way to this real liberation — from myself and the hang-ups that can impede a performance.”
Executive producer Esmail added, “When I say that there are times where I did not recognize her because she was lost in this person, I really mean it. This is my wife I’m talking about. It’s kind of eerie.”
The five-episode limited series “Angelyne” has been five years in the making, with lead star Rossum spearheading the project after reading The Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 investigative article about the origins of Angelyne (née Renee Goldberg), the Polish-born daughter of Holocaust survivors. (THR now also executive produces the Peacock series).
Rossum reportedly arrived in character for the “Angelyne” pitch meeting at NBCUniversal. The Los Angeles-raised Rossum grew up seeing the mysterious Angelyne tower over freeways on billboard posters.
“In retrospect, it’s a very curated image, but it had a lot of impact on me,” Rossum told THR. “I remember seeing a woman who was totally empowered in her body, in her sexuality, in her womanhood in a way that I certainly was not at 13 — somebody that had captured the city’s attention, seemingly magically.”
Rossum continued, “There’s an immediacy to her story. She’s the original influencer. She was doing this before anybody. She knew the power of her image, which is why she had so much control over it.”
The “Three Women” producer called Angeylne a “fantasy” who answers what would happen “if Marilyn Monroe got into an Easy Bake Oven with an ’80s punk Barbie Doll.”
Martin Freeman, Alex Karpovsky, Lukas Gage, Hamish Linklater, Charlie Rowe, Michael Angarano, Molly Ephraim, Philip Ettinger, Antjuan Tobias, Tonatiuh, and David Krumholtz also star in the series. Allison Miller serves as showrunner and executive producer. Lucy Tcherniak is the director and executive producer, with Matt Spicer also directing.