Interview: Cameron Monaghan Isn’t Your Typical Teen. Neither is the Gay Character He Plays.

More over Kurt Hummel, Marshall Gregson and Justin Suarez, there’s a new gay teen in town named Ian Gallagher and he’s not like anyone who has come before.

Or maybe that should be move over Chris Colfer, Keir Gilchrist and Marc Indelicato, there’s a new teen actor in town named Cameron Monaghan and his role on Showtime’s remake of the UK drama Shameless is set to put him on the map.

AfterElton.com had the chance to talk with Monaghan for his first interview with the gay press and the 17-year-old actor chatted about playing a gay teen who is very different from Kurt, Moosh or Justin. He also opened up about starring in such a racy role, how the role has already changed him and much more.

Cameron Monaghan

(Photo credit: Nathaniel Taylor Photography)

AfterElton: Tell us about Ian Gallagher.
Cameron Monaghan: Ian is the middle child of a struggling family in Chicago. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s the only one with a steady job in the family, so he’s kind of taking care of everyone else. He’s gay and he’s having an affair with the Muslim married man who owns the shop that he works at.

AE: So he’s your typical television teenager.

CM:
[laughs] Yeah, pretty much.

AE: How much did you know about the original show and the character of Ian before you got the part?

CM: I didn’t know very much about it. I’d never actually heard of the British version when I auditioned or when I got it. I read the script and I was really intrigued by the character because he’s so complex. He’s going through so much inner struggle. After I filmed the pilot, I went back and I watched the first season of the British series, and when I saw what goes on later for the character and all the things he goes through and all the drama, I was extremely excited. It’s a fantastic character to play.

AE: Were you a little shocked as well as excited? I mean, this isn’t typical American fare. This is definitely more European in its sensibilities. Did that surprise you at all?

CM: When I first got the sides, it was definitely unlike anything I’d ever read before. It was very, very edgy, you know, and I wasn’t sure what the tone of it was going to be, if this was something that’s just trying to go for shock value. Then as I read more and more of it and I saw different layers in the scenes, I realized that what they’re going for is to tell the absolute truth, to tell these characters’ stories in its most raw form and to not hold anything back no matter who gets offended. I can really appreciate that.

AE: I think what makes the show work- and this goes for the original as well- it’s really raw and there’s shocking stuff, but they’re also very human characters. They don’t shock for the sake of shock. It just seems like this is who they really are.

CM: Exactly, yeah. It’s really important for characters to have their flaws as well as their strengths. It makes them very relatable and very human, and I think the show does a really good job with that.

AE: You sound like you’re quite a mature young man. You’re 17, right?

CM: I am, yeah.

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