Cameron Monaghan has come a long way in his career as an up-and-coming lead in Hollywood. While he's made his debut as a child star in 2002's The Wishing Stone, the actor's been a regular presence on film and television from recurring appearances on Malcolm in the Middle to guest roles on Criminal Minds, Numb3rs, Monk, Fringe, and more. His biggest breakout role was as Ian Gallagher in the US version of Shameless on Showtime. While promoting his latest film Shattered, I spoke with Monaghan about growing up on the series playing the gay teen on the dysfunctional family series and what he wants to bring to the higher-profile roles he's getting.
"I think that what was amazing about 'Shameless' was that the only way to approach the summit and so many of those stories and so many of the scenes was to be fearless and kind of put yourself out there in a big way," Monaghan said. "It's both comedy and drama. It's tragic. It's funny. It's sometimes sexual. Sometimes it's really grounded and beautiful and even profound. I really wouldn't have been able to do that had I not been surrounded by such talented and generous actors. Bill Macy was someone who I very much admired before being cast in the show and watching him work was pretty incredible, as well as cast members like Joan Cusack and really everyone involved in the show were extraordinarily talented and seeing how they work, what their process was always really fascinating, and I think that there was so much I learned as I grew. I grew up on the show, but also I think I grew as an actor in many ways as well."
Shameless, which is based on the UK series of the same name, lasted for eleven seasons becoming the premium cable network's longest-running scripted series that starred William H Macy and Emily Rossum chronicling the misadventures of a blue-collar dysfunctional Chicago family ending its run in 2021. Before the series' ending Monaghan has appeared in a number of prominent roles like voicing the protagonist Jedi Cal Kestis in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Superboy for a few DC-related projects Warner Bros Animation, and Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska on the Fox Batman prequel series Gotham.
"I'm less interested in just the idea of doing a superhero project or an established property and more interested in telling interesting and challenging stories," Monaghan said. "If there is a character that's presented to me, that is a new take on something, if it has. Interesting challenges or interesting links to things that I feel haven't been explored in the genre, then I would absolutely be down to do that. I've never been solely in the camp of being a DC or Marvel person. I ultimately love characters from both of those worlds, and I think that what's great about their mythic storytelling is that opens up a lot of different avenues that can be explored. So ultimately, it really comes down to the specific project and the specific character that I would be performing. But that being said, yes, I'm definitely open to it. It's kind of funny with stuff. It's like, I always hesitate to say a specific character because I feel like in many ways you end up shooting in the foot or something that's good for it. Sometimes it's better because you never know, you know, there could be a character that I very much like, but it might be the way that they're doing it. It would be right for somebody else and might not necessarily be what I want to do. Or there could be a character that I'm not super familiar with who is really surprising in that I definitely want to be a part of. So, who knows really?"