Cameron Monaghan has appeared on Fringe, Monk, The Mentalist, Numb3rs and FX’s regrettably short-lived Terriers. Now Monaghan is coming to Showtime in Shameless with William H. Macy (The Lincoln Lawyer, ER) and Emmy Rossum (Mystic River, The Day After Tomorrow).
While Monaghan is still a relative newcomer to entertainment, the actor will be making a big splash in 2011 with Shameless and Disney’s upcoming high school flick Prom. Showtime’s original series typically catch on with broader audiences in their sophomore season. However, the premium network has setup Shameless to premiere on Jan 9 at 10PM following the Californication Season 4 premiere and the series premiere of Episodes with Matt LeBlanc so expect viewers to tune in quick to this new dark comedy.
In Shameless, Monaghan plays Ian Gallagher, the third eldest child in the cantankerous Gallagher family. Ian may be the gay son like Marshall (Keir Gilchrist )on United States of Tara or Kurt (Chris Colfer) on Glee, but Monaghan is states that Ian is more of an “anti-stereotype.”
In this interview, we chat with Monaghan on working on Shameless, cast relationships, superhero and villain casting dreams and Dexter.
The character Ian Gallagher goes through a lot of personal conflict with his sexuality and his family (primarily his brother) in the premiere. What do you like about this character and how do you hope he stands out from other gay sons on TV shows like Glee or United States of Tara?
C. Monaghan: I find it really cool how Ian basically is an anti-stereotype. He is tough (but not overly macho), responsible, street smart, and an overall really great guy. He’s a character who happens to be gay, but I wouldn’t call him a “gay character”. What I mean by that is that he isn’t defined by his sexuality, there’s so much more to him than that.
I met you first at the Showtime Holiday party, where you were surrounded by all the other stars of Showtime’s original series. How did it feel to be a part of the Showtime family?
C. Monaghan: Unreal. I can honestly say that I think Showtime is the best channel on television, consistently creating extremely high-quality content. I’ve been a fan for a while, so it was awesome mingling with the other casts.
The Gallagher family also seemed to be pretty close-knit off camera. Were there any favorite moments from filming or any antics off camera?
C. Monaghan: True! Our cast is just as hilarious and fun to be around off-camera as they are on. Every day, it’s like showing up at a party. It’s too hard to narrow down one favorite moment, there are just too many! The scenes when we have the entire cast are always great, though. We’re like a real family on this set, and I’m always amazed by how great of a work environment we have on our show. I’m pretty spoiled!
If there was one Showtime show you could guest star on either as a cross-over as Ian Gallagher or an entirely different character which show would it be?
C. Monaghan: Hmm… That’s a tricky question. I guess I’ll go with my favorite: Dexter. Obviously not as a crossover (I doubt Ian would fit into that universe, haha).
Follow-up: What kind of story arc would you like to see play out?
C. Monaghan:Perhaps as a “Big Bad” of some sort, Dexter always has the best villains!
You’ve had several one episode guest appearances on shows like Fringe, Monk, The Mentalist, Numb3rs, Terriers, the list goes on… What has been your favorite one shot role and why?
C. Monaghan: I’d say the most fun role would have to be the one in Fringe. My character had mind-control powers and was a somewhat of a badass! I’m a guy who grew up being fascinated by comic books and superpowers, so that role was very exciting for me.
You play Corey in Disney’s PROM. What can you tell us about your character.
C. Monaghan:Corey is a very high-energy character, a bit of a nerd, and he’s really into music. He’s a sophomore and is outside of the “social spectrum”, which is very frustrating to him, he wants to be a part of the popular crowd, but isn’t.
The film looks to take its queues from high school features like the Breakfast Club and High School Musical. How do you think Prom will be different or what do you think will make Prom memorable?
C. Monaghan:You could say “Prom” has somewhat of a John Hughes-vibe, it takes a more realistic approach to showing a glimpse into these teens’ lives, and the stresses and challenges they face. I think the audiences are really going to relate to the characters and stories.
With so many Superhero features coming up if you could be cast as one Superhero or Villain who would that be?
C. Monaghan:Well, I think it would be fun to be one of the wise-cracking superheroes such as Spider-Man, Deadpool, or The Flash. But, as I mentioned before, I’m a fan of comics, so I’d love to be just about any superhero or villain!
Pitch me your ideal film role?
C. Monaghan: That’s difficult because I don’t think there’s only one type of ‘great’ role, so I can only speak in broad terms here. However, I like dynamic characters, ones that are multi-layered, are experiencing an inner-turmoil of some sort, and go through an arc or development as the story progresses. Ian is a perfect example of a dream role or Moritz in “Spring Awakening”.
What are the top 3 reasons to watch Shameless?
C. Monaghan: Well first of all, we have a fantastic cast. I mean, William H. Macy? ‘Nuff said. Besides that, “Shameless” is really unique in how utterly honest and realistic it is, the no-holds-barred series shows a struggling family doing whatever it takes to survive. And because we’re on Showtime, we don’t ever have to hold back! It’s a really poignant mix of comedy and drama that I think is going to win over even the most jaded of viewers.