Hollywood actress Joan Cusack talks about her role in the US version of Shameless, which screens on More4 on Thursdays…

Thanks to performances in such films as Working girl and In & Out, Joan Cusack has pretty much cornered the market in quirky supporting roles, and they don’t come much oddball than Frank Gallagher’s agoraphobic girlfriend Sheila in the American version of Shameless.

TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with the 48-year-old actress for a chat…

I think Shameless is really profound… If you live your life feeling bad about your circumstances, it is hard to move forward. The idea of this show is that the Gallaghers are not feeling guilty about how they live. That is so awesome to me.

I live in Chicago, where the show is set… The location they use for the exteriors is not far from where I live, so I know it well. Ironically, as I play an agoraphobic, I don’t shoot much there and do most of my filming in LA.

Sheila is not so different from other people… She is an extreme version of anyone who doesn’t feel like going out or socialising or would rather not deal with things. Other people may be more extrovert or introvert, but she is probably not that far removed from what a lot of us experience.

I have never played many glamorous roles… In fact, the longer I stay in this business, the less glamour there is in any part of it. You get paid well sometimes, but it is a rough job and there is a lot of ugliness.

William H Macy, who plays Frank, did some carpentry in my parents’ house… He started off acting in plays in Chicago and was working as a carpenter on the side. The storage units he built were very sturdy and are there to this day. For his secret Santa, I gave him a picture of them with a note saying: ‘Some of your early work’.

It felt like this job fell out of the sky… When you have kids, doing a movie where you are gone for three to five months is not particularly family-friendly. Now I can be a mum and work – who knew?

My kids know acting is just a job rather than something more exotic… I voiced Jessie in Toy Story so they have an idea of what I do. I am fortunate to have a real life outside of work with real values and real distractions.