Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
Potential suitors, take note: You won't be able to woo Emmy Rossum on the first date. The actress has an admirably practical take on love: "I believe in pheromones and hormones, and I believe you could be happy with a number of people," she told me matter-of-factly after I asked for her opinion on romance during a recent interview. "But, your life could look very different with those people. At 16 though? Back then, I definitely believed in stuff like fate."
You're probably wondering what business I have asking Emmy Rossum a personal question like this. No, we're not bosom buddies, and we weren't sharing life wisdom over mimosas. Instead, we were discussing her latest movie, Comet, an anti-rom-com of sorts that delves into all sorts of deep relationship questions. A more appropriate label would be breakup movie. The film — which debuted at the L.A. Film Festival this week — chronicles the whirlwind coupling and (not-so-conscious) uncoupling of Rossum's Kimberly and her polar opposite, Dell, played by Justin Long.
In a fractured structure similar to 500 Days of Summer, we see Kim and Dell fall instantly, madly in love, and then suffer the consequences over the course of six years. There are lots of pheromones, sure, but the flick centers itself more on the idea of destiny. Emmy may not believe in soul mates, but she can still see a bit of herself in her character's relationship. "Watching the movie reminds me of every relationship I've been in," she explained. "From the first time you kissed and the magic at the beginning to how messed up it got, and how messed up you were."
Rossum gives a fascinating performance in the flick, but we're used to that. The real surprise with Comet was her costar Justin Long — his character Dell is a real asshole, for lack of a better term, and it's impossible to turn away. His pompous arrogance can best be summed up with his proposal to Kimberly. (Don't worry, this isn't a spoiler — it's a breakup movie, remember?) After a heartwarming monologue detailing all the reasons why he loves Kim, he closes with "But, most of all, I like you because you like me." Ouch.
Photo: Courtesy of Fubar Films.
Long and Rossum spend most of the movie alone on-screen, which raises the stakes in the chemistry department big time. The two were friends long before filming, and it was Justin's wittiness that initially won Emmy over.
"Justin and I met at an improv comedy show that he was performing in," said Rossum. "I was so impressed with him. We all went out for drinks afterward, and Justin and I had a real chemistry. We ended up developing a relationship over text messages — not flirtation, but just in a, 'This is a guy who sends funny pictures' sort of way."
As soon as Emmy landed the part in Comet, she suggested Justin for the part of Dell. Of course, to truly play star-crossed lovers, they needed to get a little more personal. "We went on a road trip with the director to Justin's cabin in upstate New York to bond — we spent the weekend horsing around on rowboats," Rossum laughed.
Rossum and Long's on-screen attraction in Comet is palpable, even for the most jaded of moviegoers. So, I just had to know — was there some part of Emmy that was secretly attracted to Dell, asshole that he is? The answer was a plain and simple no. "I don't think I could date someone like Justin's character," she mused. "I mean, I like dirty, hyper-intelligent people — but not douchebags."