Exclusive Interview: Shameless’ Emma Kenney Aka Debbie Gallagher Talks Upcoming Episodes, Doing Action Scenes and Being “A”

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher (6)
You can choose a lot of things in life. You can choose your pet, your movies, your music and even your friends. But one thing you cannot possibly choose is your family.

And no one knows this better than sweet, adorable and always responsible Debbie, played by Emma Kenney, one of the member of “The Gallaghers”, the highly disfunctional but always entertaining family of the hit Showtime series Shameless starring Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy.

Recently TV Equals had the chance to talk to the delightful and charming Emma Kenney about her role as Debbie Gallagher, what is coming up in the remaining episodes and also her secret action scene wish.

Check out what Emma had to say below and don’t forget to tune to the next episode of Shameless which airs Sunday March 4th at 9 PM ET/PT on Showtime.


A third season for ‘Shameless’, that must be exciting?

Emma Kenney: It is, thank you so much. I’m so excited. I’ve had such a great experience over the past two years and I’m really excited to do it again.

Debbie is starting school now. What’s coming up for her in the remainder of the second season?

Emma Kenney: This season Debbie has a lot more exciting things going on. She gets a lot more involved in school. She goes to school and gets more close with Little Hank.

There is more Little Hank to come?

Emma Kenney: There is more little Hank to come.

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher (5)

Do you actually get to watch this show since it’s kind of edgy?

Emma Kenney: I watch my scenes, but I don’t really watch the whole show. My mom will DVR it and then she’ll watch it and then I’ll watch it the next day with her and she’ll be, like, ‘Okay, close your eyes now,’ and I’ll go out of the room and she’ll pause the TV and then fast forward to get to it. So, I never watch those bad scenes.

So, you have to wait a few years before you can watch the whole series?

Emma Kenney: Oh, yeah, more like until I’m twenty.

And is Debbie going to start making friends in school?

Emma Kenney: Not friends, but she becomes more friendly with Little Hank. That’s what I meant. Not like best friends since Debbie is always that shy person and she’s not very open to friend relationships. I wouldn’t say that she makes friends because after that whole birthday party thing in episode four I think she feels kind of awkward and uncomfortable making new friends because she had such a bad experience.

How has it been working on the set with the whole cast for these last two seasons?

Emma Kenney: We have the best cast and I’m not just saying that. We’re all so close and we have the best time on set. We all hangout off set sometimes and I’m really, really close with Shanola [Hampton] who plays Veronica, but we went to the movies together and we saw ‘Tangled’ and we went out for dinner. We do a lot of stuff. We’re really, really close, especially when we’re in Chicago since the whole cast stays in the same hotel. We all hangout and we’re all really close and stuff. But especially working with Bill Macy and Emmy Rossum and Joan Cusack, it’s really just an amazing learning experience. I’ve learned so much stuff on this show that it’s amazing.

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher (7)

What made you want to get into acting?

Emma Kenney: When I was little I would just do acting classes for fun. I would do improv classes just for fun, not for the actual part of being an actor. Once I finally started actually doing more acting classes, I really started to like it and on a showcase, my manager was there. She asked to represent me and I guess that’s how it started.

If there was a world where you were queen for a day and you could tell the writers on the show what to do, what kind of storyline would you want for Debbie?

Emma Kenney: That’s a good one. Just for my own fun purposes, I always wanted to do an action scene. Debbie has never had an action scene in this whole ‘Shameless’ run. So I would totally have the writers do a big action episode for Debbie where she’s being chased down the street by robbers and stuff. That’s totally what I would do.

I would watch that episode.

Emma Kenney: Right? That would be so fun.

What was the funniest moment during production on season two?

Emma Kenney: Let me think. Well, some off camera stuff that was really funny this season, Jeremy [Allen White] who plays Lip and I did this crazy handshake. So, I don’t even remember what it was, but it was this crazy handshake with all this stuff and it was really fun, but during season one we had this hilarious blooper. The episode in in season one where Frank goes missing and Debbie and Carl go to the funeral home to look in the caskets to see if Frank is there, oh my God, John Wells was directing this episode and he came up with this hilarious prank that Ethan [Cutkosky] did not know about.

So, it was where the last take they were like, ‘Alright, we got the scene. Lets just do one more for safety.’ So we get on our marks and we look through all the caskets until we get to the last casket and we opened it up and Cameron [Monaghan] who plays Ian comes jumping out screaming and I screamed so loud. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was so funny. You should’ve seen our faces. They recorded it, obviously, but they gave me and Ethan a DVD and I watched it. Our faces, it was priceless. It was hilarious.

What was the most surprising moment of season two?

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher (4)

Emma Kenney: So when we were doing all the daycare scenes there were tons of kids, and it was surprising because they’re little kids and you can’t really tell them what to do. So, it was surprising because whatever they would do during the middle of the scene would surprise you because I would be like rounding the kids about in the scene, like, ‘Come on, lets go blow bubbles,’ and they could be, ‘No. I don’t want to do this.’ That’s really surprising, or they’ll be like, ‘I’m hungry, no.’ You kind of have to go with the flow and be like, ‘Okay, we’ll get you a snack first,’ instead of saying, ‘No. We’re going inside to blow bubbles.’ It’s surprising to see what they’re going to do.

And you’re also a bit of a filmmaker, right?

Emma Kenney: I am. I directed a few movies. When I did my first commercial I bought a Cannon Vixia camera and I directed ‘The New Girl In Town’ with my friends at my house. We entered it into a few film festivals not really thinking anything about it. It ended up being a finalist in the New Jersey Film Festival. It was so amazing. I got to go to the film festival and I got to see my movie on the big screen and I brought a few of my friends and it was amazing. It was super cool because the movie is about a vampire and the two girls fend off the vampire with garlic potato chips. So, Utz potato chip company actually gave us a lot of bags, I don’t know how many, but tons of bags of garlic potato chips to pass out to the people in the movie theater. It was amazing.

Will you do more movies?

Emma Kenney: Definitely. I like to write and I’ve typed up billions of scripts on my laptop, but they’re kind of crazy scripts, like action movies which are totally unrealistic for me to film, and so I have to start working within my range. I have a flip video camera and whenever I have a friend over, which is like everyday, I make movies on my flip video and then I edit them up and stuff. We do crazy comedy movies, and actually I’ve done about sixty movies. This year I did this thing called The Emma Awards which is where I created all these categories and genres and I chose winners and each of my friends got a trophy. We actually got a trophy that said The First Annual Emma Awards. It was really fun.

If you could guest star on any other TV show, whichever you wanted, which one would it be?

Emma Kenney: My favorite TV show is ‘Pretty Little Liars’ on ABC Family. I’m obsessed with that show. I would love to guest star as A. That would be so cool since they haven’t seen A. If I came in as A that would be unbelievable. I totally want to do that.

It was you all along

Emma Kenney: It was me! Right? That would be so cool. I would love that.

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