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Emmy Rossum on Jimmy's Death on 'Shameless' — and Her Onscreen Nudity Rules

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Emmy Rossum and the Gallagher gang return for more 'Shameless.' (Showtime)

Shots all around! "Shameless" kicks off Season 4 on Sunday night and the Gallagher gang — and the rest of their band of lovable misfits — will be pushing the envelope once again. (Turkey baster, anyone?)

Things will be different for Emmy Rossum's dependable big sis, Fiona, as we learned over the summer that Jimmy (or Steve, his sometimes alias) essentially walked the plank when he climbed aboard that yacht with Brazilian drug lord Nando. All signs point to the end of Justin Chatwin's run on the show … right?

"He's gone," Rossum told Yahoo TV at the  Origins Smarty Plants event benefiting charity: water in New York City.

Wait — disappeared gone or dead gone? we pressed.
 
"As far as I know, they've told us that they do not intend to focus on [that story]," she clarified. "Like, he's dead and the audience should know he's dead. And, you know, Fiona has no idea he's dead. She just thinks that he's abandoned her like he went off before [with Estefania]."

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Chatwin's character Jimmy, who lived a double life as Steve early in the show, was killed. (Showtime)

So with Jimmy dead gone, what does that mean for Fiona's love life? Regular viewers shouldn't expect a dry spell because, while the Gallaghers don't have a lot, Fi always does have an active sex life — and "Greek" alum Jake McDorman's Mike Pratt will be back this year to fill the void. It seems the office romance will kick into high gear. When the season premiere kicks off, their office romance is in high gear. He actually visits the chaotic (though slightly cleaner, thanks to Joan Cusack's Sheila) Gallagher house and then they go to a Chicago Bears game together.

"She's still working at Universal Cup, so we'll see how her romance is gonna go with that guy," hinted Rossum, whose character will also be romantically linked to Mike's brother Robbie (played by "Newsroom" alum Nick Gehlfuss).

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Love triangle! Fiona will be caught between brothers, played by Nick Gehlfuss and Jake McDorman. (Showtime)

And that means more nude scenes for the 27-year-old New York City native, who shows a lot of skin on the show. So we asked her about her nudity rules for filming.

[Related: Emmy Rossum’s Secret to Looking Good (Even When Vomiting)]

"We always have a closed set, and I only ever sign the waiver and do the scene if I feel like it's really important to the story," she said. "There have been times when I've said, 'Nope, I don't think that's important to the story. I'm not gonna do it.'"

As for prepping for those nude scenes — Rossum also had a few with ex-boyfriend Tyler Jacob Moore, who played Tony Markovich — "I always eat tuna fish and onions first," she jokes. "No, I don't. I just try to make sure the other person is very comfortable. I'm kind of used to it by now, but a lot of times the boys that are coming in are worried about, like, are they supposed to just look me in the eyes? What should they do in between takes? I just joke around and try to have some kind of fraternity humor with them so that they don't feel like anything is more awkward than it should be. But, you know, it is awkward."

That fraternity humor doesn't extend to any gags, though. "We don't do fart cushions or anything like that, no," she said. "But if I don't make jokes it's like crickets between takes. Both people just stare at the ceiling not talking."

[Related: 'Shameless' Star Shares Her 'Awkward' Encounter With 1D's Liam Payne]

And the crew? "They all turn around and avert their eyes," she says. "It's very much awkward for everyone."

Definitely less awkward was the reunion with her castmates when they arrived back on the set in September after their long break.

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Rossum with her TV fam: William H. Macy (Frank), Cameron Monaghan (Ian), Emma Kenney (Debbie), Jeremy Allen White …

"It was a long hiatus this time. We'd been apart for nine months," she said. "There's high school, new boyfriends, marriages, pregnancies — a lot of stuff that's changed."

One thing that hasn't? Fiona's role as the nurturer of her younger siblings, who are essentially orphaned because William H. Macy's Frank is a raging addict (just wait until you see him in the season premiere!), and their equally addicted and mentally ill mother, Monica, keeps running away.

"I always wanted a really big family, so even though this is a dysfunctional one, it's almost like wish fulfillment for me," said Rossum, an only child. "I've always wanted rowdy brothers. I am a caretaker and a nurturer as a person, so that aspect of it is a nice thing for me."

"Shameless" returns Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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