While most Americans are fast asleep in their beds at 2 am, Emmy Rossum was clocking in for work. For months the Shameless The star woke up in the middle of the night to begin the long and laborious process that would transform the New York City-born brunette into blonde California billboard bombshell Angelyne for the limited series Peacock, which premieres in the streaming service on May 19.
“I really got used to setting the alarm…having my coffee on the go and…listening to all the news podcasts while sitting in the [make-up] chair,” Rossum tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Before they started the process, they would bless me with a pink magic wand that was battery-powered and made a weird noise. We tried to bring Angelyne’s positivity and sense of whimsy to the trailer like in the morning!” (Watch our video interview above).
And that fantasy had to last between three and seven hours, the time required for Rossum’s extreme makeover. To play Angelyne, whose tasty figure was plastered on billboards all over Los Angeles in the 1980s, the actress wore a three-pound breastplate (which she claimed caused blisters on her torso), oversized platinum blonde wigs, and two pairs of sunglasses. contact that affected their tear ducts. However, despite her discomfort, Rossum describes her experience of transforming her body as “liberating”.
“She had a lot, a lot of power in her body, in this hyper-feminine goddess form,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “It’s obviously very different from my body. And in terms of recreating her billboard poses and the original stock footage that we do as well, it was very important to me to make it as perfect as possible, because we’re also balancing this incredibly unconventional way of telling stories with elements of hyper-fantasy as well”.
Angelyne, whose birth name is Ronia Tamar Goldberg, was already a pop culture icon when Rossum was born in 1986. In addition to those world-famous billboards, she’s recorded albums, appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, and even ran for governor in 2003. Capturing Agnelyne’s checkered life story on screen became a passion project for Rossum, who also executive produced the six-episode series. And she vividly remembers the experience of being transformed into Angelyne for the first time.
“It’s pretty amazing to have a team of hair, makeup, prosthetics and costume designers working on you for a long time and then you turn around in a mirror and not fully recognize yourself,” she recalls. “I found that my access to my own imagination and my fantasy was right there. All the things that I had practiced for years in the kind of corner of my own house, the vocal patterns, the movements and the gestures, seemed right at my disposal. and took it to another level.”
Rossum’s cast members were similarly shocked when she emerged from her seven-hour stint in the makeup chair looking like a completely different person. “You can’t say enough about his transformation, he’s completely amazing,” says the former Girls star Alex Karpovsky, who plays a journalist investigating Angelyne’s biography behind the billboards. “I saw Emmy at the table reading, but when we were on set, I only saw her as Angelyne and forgot Emmy was there! That’s how good the makeup was and how deep she got into character.”
Karpovsky wasn’t the only one who forgot Rossum’s presence on set. The actress says that she noticed a difference in the way others reacted to her when she was dressed in Angelyne’s revealing outfits. “I think it’s natural,” she says, adding that her cast and crew’s reaction to her actually enhanced her performance. “I think part of Angelyne’s power comes from the fact that she knows that people underestimate her and underestimate her intelligence based on how she looks. And I think she uses that to her advantage.”
angelina is part of a recent wave of television series and documentaries, which includes pam and tommy Y Framing Britney Spears — who have sought to reshape our understanding of prominent female celebrities who were ridiculed at the peak of their careers for their inordinate sexuality. But the celebrities in question haven’t always endorsed the finished product. Pamela Anderson notably refused to participate in pam and tommyand some of her friends, most notably Courtney Love, have publicly criticized Hulu for going ahead with the show, which dramatizes how a private sex tape she made with her then-husband, Tommy Lee, was stolen and leaked to the public.
Unlike Anderson, Rossum says that the real Angelyne gave the Peacock series her blessing. “I had the opportunity to meet her and sit with her, and it was an incredible experience,” says the actress. “I told her that I had probably read and seen everything she had done, including buying meditation tapes…off eBay and a little pink tape recorder that I would play them on!…I told her I wanted to create a show that wasn’t a biopic in any way, but something that really honored this fantastical mythology that surrounds her and brought back some of that mystique. She seemed to really like it.”
Rossum, a longtime advocate for pay equity, also says she made sure Angelyne was financially compensated for lending her approval and image to the production. “I am someone for whom fairness and pay equity have been an incredible part of my journey,” she says. “It was very important to me that Angelyne be properly compensated for her contribution, not only to this show, but to pop culture throughout history.”
Now that she can skip the makeup trailer and go back to sleep, Rossum says she has more perspective on the “magical enigma” that is Angelyne. “She made the outside of her reflect how she felt inside of her,” she explains. “She’s kind of an original influencer who put her hand up and had this brilliant idea of ’I’m going to be famous for who I am, not for something I do.’ She turned her life into a living, breathing art, and I think that is incredible.”
angelina opens May 19 on Peacock