'Shameless': Cameron Monaghan plays against 'Glee' stereotypes

shameless-showtime-cameron-monaghan.jpg
You're probably going to hear a lot about Cameron Monaghan this year. Not only is he appearing in Disney's "Prom" coming out in April, but also he plays Ian, the moody, highly secretive gay teen in Showtime's adaptation of the British dramedy, "Shameless."

"[Ian] is tough, but not macho," Monaghan tells Zap2it about his character. "Brave, street-smart, responsible, a fan of sports, interested in being a paratrooper in the army, selfless and cares deeply for his family. He is not typically what you see of a gay teenager on TV, because he's not flamboyant like Kurt Hummel in 'Glee.' Not that there's anything wrong with that portrayal either. Ian is different than what already exists on TV."

In fact, there's very little about "Shameless" in general that rings of anything else on American television. It unabashedly follows the Gallaghers, a lower-income Chicago family with a hard-partying dad (played by "Fargo's" William H. Macy) in which the eldest daughter ( Emmy Rossum) has to pick up the slack.

"Even though it's sometimes farcical and comedic," Monaghan, 17, says. "At the same time it's still very realistic to its core. It's showing real struggle and sometimes things that are really ugly and sometimes a little bit taboo. At the same time, it's never holding back. It's never pulling its punches."

shameless-cameron-monaghan-showtime.jpg
When it comes to taboo, Monaghan's character takes the cake. Let's just say revealing his homosexuality may be the most innocuous revelation of the series, because he gets into much worse. When we asked him where he drew the line, Monaghan says he has very little qualms when it comes to his acting.

"We're a show that's really not afraid to offend anyone," he says. "We have fun making fun of everybody. I think everyone's fair game and that's part of what's awesome about the show. Me personally, I don't know. Maybe, I'd never do full frontal or something like that."

Yet, with all the grittiness of his role on "Shameless," what attracted him to Disney's "Prom"?

"I like good scripts and I like being on shows and movies I normally watch myself," he says. "I read this and I really, really liked it. I liked what they were doing. It was a little more realistic, had kind of a John Hughes kind of vibe to it. And that's why I was interested in going out for the part."

Don't look now, but we think Monaghan is someone you should keep an eye on. Get to know him:

Who would you like to play in "The Hunger Games" film?
"Probably Peeta. I really like the Peeta role. I think he's relatable and I think that would be an interesting role to play."

Favorite actors? 
"I have a few. I'm a huge fan of Gary Oldman and his ability to create these wildly different characters. A big one is Sean Penn, especially in movies like 'The Falcon and the Snowman' and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High.' And Ben Kingsley, as well. He's another one of those chameleons, I like to call them, like Gary Oldman."

Favorite actresses?
"Meryl Streep. I know everyone loves Meryl Streep, because she's wildly talented, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet. Those are the tree that definitely top my list. Natalie Portman, as well, especially after 'Black Swan.' I loved her performance."

If you were home sick, what movie would you watch?
"You can't go wrong in watching a Pixar film, ever. However you're feeling, I think a Pixar film will brighten your day a little bit, especially any movie in the 'Toy Story' series."

Favorite TV shows?
" 'Dexter' is No. 1 at the top of my list. Besides that, 'Breaking Bad' and 'Mad Men.'"
Photo/Video credit: Nathaniel Taylor Photography; Showtime
SHARE IT ON: