Born September 5, 1973. Known early in her career for such movies as The Doom Generation and Scream (1996), she's had a resurgence in popularity with the TV show Charmed (1998), as the fourth sister brought in when Prue died, and her dual roles in Grindhouse.
In 2016 she announced her retirement from acting to focus on directing. A year later, McGowan reemerged as a very outspoken advocate for female sex abuse victims after accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of raping her.
Film Roles include:
- 1995 The Doom Generation as Amy Blue
- 1996 Scream as Tatum Riley
- 2000 Ready to Rumble as Sasha
- 2001 Monkeybone as Miss Kitty
- 2007 Planet Terror as Cherry Darling
- 2007 Death Proof as Pam
- 2010 Machete as Boots McCoy (role cut from finished film, but on DVD in deleted scenes)
- 2011 Conan the Barbarian (2011) as Marique
Television Roles include:
- 2001-6 Charmed as Paige Matthews
- 2009 Nip/Tuck as Teddy Rowe
- 2013-4 Once Upon a Time as the young Cora in flashbacks and also as a ghost
- Acting for Two: In Grindhouse she plays two distinct characters - Cherry Darling in Planet Terror and Pam in Death Proof.
- Actor-Inspired Element: She contributed most of Paige's wardrobe for Charmed Season 4.
- Artist Disillusionment: She's grown very disillusioned with Hollywood in the wake of the tidal wave of sexual abuse scandals, calling it a "cult" and she's been very outspoken on her belief that her fellow actors and actresses have been enabling the culture of abuse by keeping silent about it — in particular she accused feminist Meryl Streep of being a hypocrite for working with Harvey Weinstein.note She also refused to be interviewed by Oprah because she was a friend of Weinstein. She lashed out at the "Time's Up" protest at the 2018 Golden Globes calling it "Hollywood Fakery. She has even attacked her former Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano, saying in an interview, "I don't like her. I think she's a lie". note She even turned against journalist Ronan Farrow (a vocal critic against permissive culture that allows celebrity sexual abusers and that includes his own father, Woody Allen) who helped break her story about Weinstein's rape simply because he called her personal memoir "dark".
- Casting Gag: She played David Arquette's sister in Scream, and his love interest in Ready to Rumble.
- Creator Backlash: She has some towards Charmed (1998), not realising she'd end up spending five years on the show. Her issue was mainly with the long shooting hours and how little personal time she'd have as a result. She does however say she's happy to have done the show.
- She does not have fond memories of Grindhouse; she confided in director Robert Rodriguez that Harvey Weinstein had raped her — and felt that he played mind games with her by having her film a scene where she is attacked, and then he sold the film to Weinstein, believing it to be a betrayal of personal trust.
- Creator Breakdown: She had a major one early in February 2018. She got into a shouting match with a trans woman at a book signing event, over her previous comments over trans people. She then announced she was canceling all future appearances and went on a Twitter rant on how the person who argued with her was a "paid plant" from Weinstein and how nobody in the store did anything to stop it .... even though security escorted the woman away.
- Dawson Casting:
- Deleted Role: She filmed some scenes for Machete, but they were cut.
- Dye Hard: She's changed her hair colour a lot over the years. Notably in Charmed, she had a different colour each season - black in Season 4, red in 5, blonde in 6 and brown in the final two.
- Dyeing for Your Art: She dyed her hair blonde for Scream in order to distinguish her from Neve Campbell.
- Fake American: Born and raised in Italy, so most of her roles are technically this. But as she has an American accent naturally, this is a marginal example.
- Fake Irish: She's half-Irish but speaks with an American accent - so she fakes a rather bad Belfast accent in Fifty Dead Men Walking.
- Playing Against Type:
- Reality Subtext: When Rose first started on Charmed, she would sometimes doodle her lines on the prop Book of Shadows, not realising how much sentimental value it had to the cast and crew. This led to a gag in one episode where Piper gets annoyed with Paige for trying to colour-code the book.
- Star-Making Role: The Doom Generation brought her to national attention.
- Those Two Actors:
- Typecasting: Usually the Deadpan Snarker - because that's her personality in real life. Paige in Charmed started out as a Naïve Newcomer, before growing into that.
- Wag the Director:
- Unhappy at having to film so many raunchy scenes with actors she'd just met in Charmed's fifth season, she went to the producers and said "Paige isn't a ho" - resulting in more long-term romance plots for the character.
- During production of Jawbreaker's prom scene, Rebecca Gayheart's hairstyle provoked Rose's competitive spirit - and the metal hairbands were the result of her demanding a more impressive hairdo.
- What Could Have Been:
- She was attached to a film adaptation of Red Sonja, to be directed by Robert Rodriguez. But the project never got off the ground, and with Rose announcing her retirement from acting, it's unlikely that she'll play the role if it ever gets revived.
- Other projects she was attached to include a remake of Barbarella and the Julia Stiles adaptation of The Bell Jar.
- Charmed was going to feature a Paige and Cole romance in the fifth season. The spell Paige casts on Cole in the premiere would have led to him kissing her passionately by mistake, eventually developing real feelings for her. Both actors protested the romance and it never happened.