HOMETOWN: New York City
LATEST GIG: A Golden Globe-nominated turn as Phantom
's imperiled ingénue
•Horse sense: Singing with the children's chorus of the Metropolitan Opera at age 7, "I was working for $5 a night," says Rossum. "There was a horse onstage with me that was getting $150. When you realize you're worth less than livestock to somebody, you realize you're there because you love it."
•Sweet 16: Rossum (full first name: Emmanuelle) had gained notice in 2001's Songcatcher
before breaking through as Sean Penn's doomed daughter in Mystic River
and Jake Gyllenhaal
's crush in The Day After Tomorrow
. She was only 16 when Phantom
director Joel Schumacher cast her. "It was as if we ordered her," he says. "There was an intelligence and an innocence at the same time."
•Shark tale: Instead of following peers like Lindsay Lohan
into nightclubs ("I like to dance, but I can do it for equally as much fun on my bed when I'm alone naked in front of the mirror," she told New York's Daily News
), she has other ways of letting off steam. "I'm a great angler," says Rossum, who caught a shark during a recent Caribbean trip. "Then the mother came up and was glaring at me. I was like, 'Don't worry. I'm letting your baby go.'"
•Eight isn't enough: She's taking classes at Columbia University as she adjusts to Phantom fame
. "People either totally know who I am or think they used to date me 10 years ago," says Rossum, who dates art-dealing-family scion David Wildenstein, 25. "I'm like, 'Dude, I was 8 years old!'"