Justin Chatwin has had moments of duality in Shameless seasons past. When we-- and Fiona-- first met him, he was Steve, a smooth-talking, fast-driving car thief. But as seasons unfolded, we-- and Debbie!-- learned he had a dark secret. He was actually Jimmy, a clean-cut kid from an affluent family, just rebelling late in life. Now in season three, Jimmy is Jimmy out in the open with Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and the rest of the Gallagher clan, and this causes brand new problems for the relationship and the kid who is still struggling to find himself through it all.
"Jimmy/Steve gets faced with a lot of his past this season because he’s a juggler. In the same way Fiona does, he’s been juggling for years, and now his past comes back to him, which was his biggest fear," Chatwin said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with him on set in Los Angeles.
"What I like most about my character is he’s not afraid of change. He can blend in, and he can be in different worlds, and this season, when his past catches up with him, a lot of Jimmy comes back. Because he’s mostly been Steve, which is this James Bond, man of action, adventure guy."
But any adventures Jimmy gets thrust into in season three of Shameless may be a little bit unwilling. Jimmy has been living in the Gallagher house, playing house, so to speak, which takes a toll on his relationship and on him as a man as he has to face the fact that he can no longer just throw money around to solve everyone's problems.
"He’s a little more domestic, in the kitchen with the kids, being a little more of a homemaker. He takes on a little bit of Fiona, and Fiona takes on a little bit of him," Chatwin said.
"The relationship takes on a different challenge, which is ‘what do you do when you get bored in a relationship?’ Because their strong bond was sexual, and it was excitement, and it was passion, and that’s not the bond now, so it’s a little bit weaker of a bond, and they have to face those challenges."
Additionally, Jimmy has to get a "real job" this season, which Chatwin said forces him to consider what he is even good at and where his skills lie-- outside of the area of illegal activity, that is. He can't lean on his parents, either, even if he wanted to. His father has a secret that once it comes out, has him knocking on Jimmy's door for help instead of vice versa.
"He’s forced to ask ‘Who am I?’ Jimmy was raised where his parents bought things for him, and that’s how they showed him love, and so that’s the only way that he knows how to show love back. And now that there’s a bodyguard surveilling him, that’s what he does: he goes out everyday and he buys him stuff and he gives him stuff, and that’s how he gets people to like him. He doesn’t know different, and he hits a wall in his character this season because he’s forced to get a real job, and he’s faced with his biggest fear, which is ‘You’ve got to become a normal person'," Chatwin said.
"His parents get divorced, and he finds out his dad’s gay, and he starts having to look at separate elements of who he really is as opposed to who he wants to be. And through having to feel real feelings…this boy in him starts coming out, and he starts crumbling, and he starts to realize that maybe this life isn’t so glamorous. Maybe everything that he’s been romantic about or excited about—this whole darker world that he thought was so opposite isn’t that opposite or that exciting."
Shameless airs on Showtime on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Be sure to watch our video interview with Chatwin for more insight into the season and Jimmy himself.
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