When you're being considered for your first major role and it's to play a sex-addicted teen, you might have to do embarrassing things while auditioning.
Laura Slade Wiggins, who plays Karen Jackson on Showtime's "Shameless," learned that first hand.
"I had to do two blowjob scenes and I'm Southern Baptist," Wiggins told me Nov. 9 while on the Chicago location shoot for the series, which debuted its second season Jan. 8. "Instead of like pantomiming the blowjob I just kind of put my head in my hands and was shameful. [Laughs.] I was so embarrassed."
Wiggins and I chatted for a few minutes between takes at 1937 S. Spaulding Ave., a South Side house that serves as the home of Karen and her agoraphobic mom, Sheila (Joan Cusack), in the series. We talked more about how she got the job, whether Lip will forgive Karen for having sex with his dad, and how Karen deals with her sex addiction in Season 2.
For more of the chat, check out the video above.
Karen did a bad thing. Are things going to get better between her and Lip?
I feel like when her father called her a whore she started that whole downfall and she lost a lot of her childhood. Lip sees her go down this bad path and I feel like he's gone through it himself living with Frank. And he understands that Frank sometimes just brings out the worst in people.
What's coming in Season 2?
Karen is in Sex Addicts Anonymous. [Laughs.] We learn that in the first couple of scenes. Thank God. She's still friends with Lip. He does forgive her and he really does genuinely have some kind of love for her, even if it's not romantic love. She's not even capable of romantic love. She's so consumed with sex all the time; that's like all she thinks about. She really is a sex addict.
[There's] tons of cool stuff [coming]. Karen has a new boyfriend and he's a lot older than she is. I guess she really did like the Frank train.
How did you get the role?
I'd never really done a series regular role before. I was at City College in Pasadena. I went in for the initial audition and I had a really bad flu, which kind of helped get over my nerves I used to have. I mean I had the swine flu or something, it was terribly bad so I just chugged some Day-Quil. It was so ridiculous because I had to do two blowjob scenes and I'm Southern Baptist. But my agent called me and told me if I didn't go they were going to drop me. So I was like, "I guess I'll go in," and I eventually got the part.
Maybe they thought if she can do this, she'll be able to do anything else we ask her to do.
Right. [Laughs.] I wish I could have peeked in on the other girls' auditions just to see if they were pantomiming or how they did it. ... I didn't know what to think, because I really didn't do the blow job [pantomime]. I was just really weirded out.
You said this was your first big gig and regular role?
Yeah. I didn't even think it was possible to get a series regular job until you were much older. I was 20 when I auditioned and from Athens. Wow, I can't even believe it's been two years since the beginning of this process.
This is the best show to learn on because we have Bill [Macy], who's a former acting teacher and he's a dad right now, so he's always giving us all this amazing information about the industry and acting.
Jeremy [Allen White] is obviously a really talented guy. And Joan, there was one scene where I thought the agoraphobia thing was going to be really funny and [she showed me] that it was really serious. I think that was the first time as an actor that I realized that not everything was a joke on camera.
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