Shameless is a show that regularly shocks and surprises, pushing the envelope in every arena with the wild antics of the Gallagher family. And while we’ve been pulling for the relationship between Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich to succeed, the couple is facing a big challenge in the current season.
Like his mother, Ian is dealing with bi-polar disorder and in recent episodes we've watched him act out by stealing Mickey’s baby and putting himself and others in harm's way. Mikey and Ian's siblings ultimately have to get him into a psych ward to try and bring his mental illness under control.
TheBacklot: I just finished watching three episodes of Shameless back to back. I kind of want to swear since that’s what the characters do quite often.
Noel Fisher: [laughs] Mickey swears more than any character on any TV show that wasn’t Deadwood! Early on, in the first two seasons, I added a lot of the F bombs. It just felt right for Mickey. Then, one of the writers actually wrote me a scene that literally every line that I had had me saying f***. Every line for a page and a half. Every time I spoke it somehow involved the word f***.
It just fits.
NF: It fits.
Talking about this season, you and Cameron are really doing amazing work.
NF: Oh, thank you so much. I mean, it’s hard to kind of top a season like last season, but introducing the bipolar aspect is a whole other world. Just when one whirlwind is over, they hit some really, just terrible weather.
Mickey (Noel Fisher) may be showing signs of cracking on Shameless.
(l-r, Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White & Fisher) (Showtime)
Thinking about Mickey’s journey this season-- he’s got a kid and now he has to deal with his partner being bi-polar-- do you feel like he’s being forced to grow up? ?
NF: Yeah. I think that’s something that’s really well done in this show. I’ve said before that a big change for Mickey is once you’re past the idea of becoming yourself, you know, the outing of himself and stepping into that fully, there’s a whole other kind of array of issues and responsibilities and things that are going to pop up that come along with love, right? Being in a relationship, that’s a big scene by itself. But when you add in something like bipolar disorder it just takes that connection to a whole new level. Now the person becomes really clear in what that connection really means.
How is Mickey going to react now that Ian is in the psych ward?
NF: It felt like [the Tom Hanks movie] Cast Away. Ian and Mickey are both really just sort of lost at sea…what you’re going to see Mickey do is struggle more and more in an oddly similar way to Ian. He’s going to struggle because Ian, I think, is finally forced to sort of recognize the reality of his circumstance. What that really means, what bipolar is, learning about how that is likely to affect his life, etcetera, etcetera. And then you have me standing next to him. If your partner is going through something that is potentially permanent, if it tends to be from here on out a kind of circumstance, that has a huge impact on the people around the disorder as well. And that’s the kind of struggle that Mickey’s going to be dealt.
Who do we see Mickey kind of lean on through all this?
NF: Well, he leans on alcohol…
That’s to be expected in Shameless.
NF: Not a particularly healthy choice, but it’s strange because he’s not someone that leans on people voluntarily. He’s someone that does not really go to anybody for help. He’s been raised in a family where that’s not what you do. You rely on yourself. That’s a big difference between the Gallaghers and the Milkovichs. The Gallaghers are the positive version of the Milkovichs in a large part, because they stick together and the Milkovichs just don’t have that same glue. So he doesn’t really have anybody. He ends up being forced to rely on the Gallaghers and that’s kind of a relationship that develops. That’s the only group that he can rely on with this and the only people with any experience with it.
TBL: How have you been more challenged this year in the role because of what Mickey is going through?
NF: I think the difference is…it’s kind of a strange one…but if you’re coming out, the issue that you’re overcoming, at least what I imagine it to be, is within yourself. It’s an issue that lies within you. And if you’re choosing to come out, deciding to overcome whatever mental blocks and emotional blocks you have within yourself and from the circumstances, which a lot of people face, unfortunately, but that’s kind of last season’s issue. This season’s issue is something that seems so much harder to fix and perhaps impossible. It’s outside of him. He has no control over it. He can’t really do anything about it. That’s the thing because it’s not you. At its core, it’s not his issue.
Fisher said he's glad that Monaghan is such a good actor
for the work they've done this season. (Showtime)
Has it been different working with Cameron this season? Especially in these last few episodes, since Ian is so out of it?
NF: That’s something that I am really thankful for, how the show is done in general because the cast is just phenomenal all around. And Cameron really, really came to the table with this great storyline this season and he’s hitting it out of the park. That makes my job easier because outside of the scenes, it’s the same. We’re buddies and we joke around a lot and all that kind of stuff, but then when he’s in the scene, he’s very much in it. He’s not looking at me the same…it makes it easier to respond to because it’s already there but it’s different. If I’m kind of in Mickey-mode, hurting, or worrying, or angry, or whatever kind of emotion it invokes, it’s already there, I just have to be there, and kind of see it, and respond to it. So, I’m really thankful that Cameron’s so good!
Very important question, I’ve seen you on the show with dark hair, then I see pictures of you on red carpets and other places with lighter hair. What’s the real hair color for Noel Fisher?
NF: It’s really going to be a surprise. Actually, I am also a ginger. It’s not quite the level of Cam’s, but it’s definitely got a whole lot of fire in it.
When all the Gallavich stuff kind of started, what were you hearing from fans?
NF: I think fans are pretty vocal and they’re loving Gallavich. It’s been pretty incredible to see because I’ve never been a part of anything that’s kind of taken off like this has. And, yeah, I think it’s pretty much universal that people want them to be together. Who doesn’t root for the people in love trying to make it work? It’s a universal kind of story. Anyone can get behind that.
I can’t wait to see what else comes the rest of the season.
NF: It’s going to get even crazier.
Shameless airs Sundays at 9pm on Showtime.