“Fame is not something I strive for. It’s not healthy. I just want to be happy.” Emmy Rossum
A mixture of Dutch and Scotch-Irish heritage, actress Emmy Rossum gathered applause for portraying the Golden Globe-nominated role of the lovely chorus-singer Chistine in Joel Schumacher’s film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit stage musical The Phantom of the Opera (2004). A trained opera singer, who has appeared in 20 different operas singing in five languages, Rossum was also seen in the big screen’s Mystic River (2003) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). The 5' 7" young actress will play Kurt Russel’s daughter in Wolfgang Petersen's remake of the 1972 disaster classic, Poseidon.
Childhood and Family:
"The truth is I probably didn't want to be friends with some of those girls [from prep school] because I found that a lot of their values were a little specious. Now, of course, all those girls are calling me and being like, '’We should have lunch!' And I'm like, 'Um...don't you remember how you didn't like me that much?'" Emmy Rossum
On September 12, 1986, Emmanuelle Grey Rossum was born in New York, New York. The only child of Jewish parents (a banker father and a corporate photographer mother), Emmy Rossum, nicknamed Em, or Emmy Grey, attended an elite private girl’s school, Spence School, in Manhattan, New York. After graduating in 1996, Emmy began to home school, enrolling in programs offered by Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) in California and Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) in Chicago. Emmy is currently taking college courses at Columbia University in New York.
In her off-time, Emmy enjoys her hobbies: reading, horseback riding and ballet. She still lives with her mother in New York City.
“I'm heavy on preparation. Some actors come to the set and don't know what scene they're playing, but that would make me crazy. It's not about control but perfectionism… my biggest vice and one of my biggest assets.” Emmy Rossum
New York native Emmy Rossum developed her interest in music and was selected to join the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center as part of the Children’s Chorus at the tender age of seven. Though Emmy only made $5 a night at the Metropolitan Opera ("There were horses onstage that were getting $150," said Emmy), she enjoyed working with such musical talents as Dimitri Hvorostovsky and Denyce Graves. She also made her singing debut in Tschaikovsky’s 1995 production of “Queen of Spades” and later appeared in 20 different operas singing in five languages, including Tim Albery’s production of Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Additionally, Emmy had the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall in 1997 in a presentation of Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust.”
A trained opera singer, Emmy found a new interest in acting. At 11 years old, she originated the role of Abigail Williams on the CBS longtime-running daytime serial "As the World Turns" and was spotted as a guest on NBC’s highly-acclaimed drama “Law and Order.” She then guest starred on an episode of "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in 1998 and played Caroline Beels in two episodes of "Snoops" in 1999. Meanwhile, Emmy was also seen in such made-for-TV movies as Only Love (1998; based on Erich Segal's book; starring Marisa Tomei and Rob Morrow), the two-part epic "A Will of Their Own" (1998; based on Susan Richards Shreve's novel; starring Lea Thompson, Ellen Burstyn and Faye Dunaway) and Grace & Glorie (1998; adapted from Tom Ziegler's play; starring Gena Rowlands and Diane Lane).
In 1998, Emmy debuted on the big screen with a bit part in writer-director Steven Feder's romantic comedy It Had to Be You (released in 2000, starring Natasha Henstridge and Michael Vartan). After costarring with Trevor Morgan on the TV movie Genius (1999), Emmy received the role of Deladis Slocumb in writer-director Maggie Greenwald's musical drama Songcatcher (2000, starring Janet McTeer). She was then cast to portray the teenage version of one of Hollywood's most legendary actresses, Audrey Hepburn, in the ABC biopic, directed by Steven Robman, The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000, Jennifer Love Hewitt played the adult version) and appeared as a guest on an episode of ABC’s “The Practice.” Subsequently, Emmy landed roles in writer-director Éva Gárdos's poignant drama An American Rhapsody (2001, starring Nastassja Kinski and Tony Goldwyn), Philippa Cousins' British film Happy Now (2001, with Ioan Gruffudd and Susan Lynch) and played Sofia Milos' daughter in Dan Ireland's romantic drama comedy Passionada (2002, also with Jason Isaacs).
Writer-director Alan Hruska cast Emmy to play Nola (2003), an aspiring songwriter in search of her biological father, in an urban fairy tale, romantic comedy with the same name. She played Sean Penn's daughter in Clint Eastwood's award-winning film version of Dennis Lehane's novel, Mystic River (2003, with Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Tim Robbins and Marcia Gay Harden) before gaining notice for playing Laura Chapman, costarring with Dennis Quaid and Jake Gylenhaal, in writer-director Roland Emmerich's global warming disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
"He had the most magnificent apartment I had ever seen and I was floored by it. I went in and started vocalizing with the accompanist and Andrew walked in as we were preparing. He didn't say hello, didn't introduce himself and just sat down in front of me and said, 'Shall we?' I thought to myself it was my one shot so I had better just stand up and do it, so I didn't introduce myself. I nodded to the accompanist and I did the two biggest numbers in the show. Then he stood up and said: 'That was great. I'm Andrew.’” Emmy Rossum (on her audition with Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Phantom of the Opera, 2004)
Emmy’s real breakthrough arrived in 2004. Filmmaker Joel Schumacher handed her the female lead role of Phantom’s (played by Gerard Butler) young student and love admiration, the obscure chorus-singer Chistine Daae, in his screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit stage musical, The Phantom of the Opera (also based on Gaston Leroux's 20th century French novel; also featuring Patrick Wilson). Emmy’s solid performance nabbed a nomination at the Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress (Musical or Comedy) and won National Board of Review, Broadcast Film Critics Association, and Boston Society of Film Critics Awards.
"I'm convinced wearing those corsets for 14 hours at a time deformed me for life," she says. "I was 16 years old and still growing at the time of the shooting. I could barely breathe, and with Christine's intense emotions I hyperventilated and almost passed out. I think her name is Christine for a reason. She is Christ-like." Emmy Rossum (on her character Christine)
Currently, Emmy is filming Wolfgang Petersen's remake of the 1972 disaster classic The Poseidon Adventure (1972), titled Poseidon. In the film, inspired by Paul Gallico's novel about a luxury ocean liner capsized by a colossal tidal wave, Emmy will costar as Kurt Russell's daughter Jennifer Ramsey.
"When I was real young, I wanted to be 1,000 different things. In acting, I get to do that every six weeks." Emmy Rossum