'I Remember Being Disappointed:' Jeremy Allen White Reveals He Originally Wanted A Different Role In Shameless

 Jeremy Allen White holding his hands up as Lip in Shameless.
Jeremy Allen White holding his hands up as Lip in Shameless.
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Before Jeremy Allen White made a splash on the 2023 movie schedule in The Iron Claw and got everyone saying “Yes, chef!” after seeing one of Hulu’s best shows, The Bear, he was best known as Lip Gallagher from Showtime’s Shameless. The Emmy-nominated actor played the second oldest Gallagher sibling for eleven seasons, and to this day, he’s close with that cast. However, when he was auditioning for the series, he actually wanted to play a different role in the dramedy.

We all have come to know and love Jeremy Allen White as Lip when it comes to Shameless. However, when he was a guest on Just for Variety, he revealed he originally wanted to play Ian, the slightly younger Gallagher who was ultimately played by Cameron Monaghan. Speaking about the audition process, and his thoughts surrounding the news back then, White said:

I wouldn’t say there’s one that got away, but Cameron Monaghan knows about this. When I was auditioning for Shameless, I was auditioning for both Lip and Ian throughout the auditioning process. I really wanted to play Ian. And then I was told, ‘No, you’re going to play Lip.’ So, I guess that’s the best way to get bad news is like, ‘No, you’re not going to do this one, but you can do this one.’ And then, obviously, I came to really love playing Lip and getting to do it for so long. But yeah, I really chased Ian, and I remember being disappointed when they said, ‘Actually, it’s this guy.’

A side by side of Cameron Monaghan as Ian and Jeremy Allan White as Lip in Shameless.
A side by side of Cameron Monaghan as Ian and Jeremy Allan White as Lip in Shameless.

If You Love The Shameless Star, Check Out His Other Work:

Jeremy Allen White in The Bear
Jeremy Allen White in The Bear

Stream The Bear with a Hulu subscription, and check out The Iron Claw in theaters. Then, make sure to check out Jeremy Allen White's other projects.

On the surface, Ian might seem like the more complex character to play of the two. Between his relationship with Mickey and his storyline surrounding him being diagnosed as bipolar, there was a lot to dig into for Ian. However, the same can be said about Lip. As the second oldest sibling, he was tasked with taking care of his younger siblings, and his struggle with embracing his intelligence to move up and being stuck in the brutal cycle of poverty was one of the most compelling arcs of Shameless to me.

As White said, he really came around to playing Lip, and he has a lot of love for Cameron Monaghan and the entire Shameless cast. Also, these two guys have such great chemistry as Lip and Ian, and I can’t imagine anyone else in their roles.

While White was candid about not necessarily wanting to play Lip at first, he grew to love him and the show. Now that he’s a few years removed from Shameless, he looks back on his time fondly, and he even told Vanity Fair that if he were to get a tattoo, it’d be for his character from the Showtime staple:

I think I’m done with tattoos, to be honest. I’ve spent so much time in the makeup chair this year. If I were to get anything next, it would be for [playing] Philip Gallagher—those 11 years on Shameless were so special. I don’t think I give that time in my life enough love in my head, so maybe I could love it on my skin.

To this day, the cast is tight, for example, the Shameless family reunited for the SAG-AFTRA strikes on multiple occasions, and they came together to celebrate the holidays a few years ago. Their love for each other speaks to how well this show was cast, and it seems like Jeremy Allen White is very grateful for that now, even though he wanted to play Ian at first.

Hopefully, someday, we’ll get to see Jeremy Allen White and Cameron Monaghan share the screen again. While that may be a dream, luckily, we can always see these two anytime we want as the beloved brothers Lip and Ian by streaming Shameless with a Netflix subscription.