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‘A lot more heart’: ABQ native, ‘Shameless’ star says last season of series goes ‘back to the family’

Elise Eberle as Sandy Milkovich in “Shameless.” (Paul Sarkis/Showtime)

A day on set consists of a lot of hurry up and wait.

This is something that Albuquerque native Elise Eberle has gotten used to as her profile has risen in the film industry.

Not only are there long days, but all members must get daily COVID tests.

“I don’t have nothing to complain, about because they are taking all the precautions,” she says. “It’s pretty awesome, and I’m blessed to be working, considering how much is going on in the world.”

Eberle has returned to Showtime’s long-running series “Shameless” for its final season. New episodes air at 10 p.m. Sunday on Showtime.

“Shameless” is an adaptation of Paul Abbott’s British series of the same name and features an ensemble cast led by William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.

It follows the poor, dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, played by Macy, a neglectful single father of six. He spends his days drunk or in search of misadventures, and his children learn to take care of themselves.

The show’s producers sought to distinguish this production from previous American working-class shows by highlighting how Frank’s alcoholism and drug addiction affects his family.

Elise Eberle as Sandy Milkovich and Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher in “Shameless.” (Paul Sarkis/Showtime)

Eberle joined the cast in its 10th season, playing Sandy Milkovich. She is reprising her role in the series’ 11th and final season.

“Sandy is an unfazed, take-charge person,” Eberle says. “She’s a true Milkovich. They are scavengers and they do what it takes in order to survive. It’s a joy to play someone who couldn’t care less of what people think of her. It’s fun to take that and play with the role.”

While Milkovich is a strong character, Eberle also finds her inspiring.

“We often get so wrapped up in what people think about us,” she says. “Sandy is quite the opposite. Oftentimes, I will ask myself, ‘What would Sandy think?’ She’s grounded and mature. She’s a survivor. She’s become part of me.”

Before being cast on the show, Eberle was a fan of the series.

With her role, she also felt a little bit of pressure, because the series has a die-hard following.

Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher and Elise Eberle as Sandy Milkovich in a scene from “Shameless.” (Chuck Hodes/Showtime)

“What I love about the show is that it really highlights people who have flaws but are great people,” she says. “These characters are all working-class, and everyone is a survivor. With COVID being part of season 11, you see how people are dealing with all this trauma and how it’s impacted society and culture.”

Eberle will be filming the final season through February. The season premiered Dec. 6.

“I’m really proud of the season, and I think it’s one of the best,” Eberle says. “This season, it’s really going back to the family. Normally, each family member has their own storyline. (Creator) John Wells wanted to go back to the show being a family drama. There’s a lot more heart in the final season.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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