The Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg, best known to fans of the hit CBS comedy as turtleneck-favoring aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz, in real life is also a film director, screenwriter — and jazz piano player.
He proved his musical skills to a surprised crowd following the international premiere of his latest movie at Scotland’s Edinburgh Film Festival Sunday night.
The movie, a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy titled We’ll Never Have Paris, had only its fourth public screening at the Scottish festival, after making its debut March 10 at the South By Southwest Festival in Texas.
The movie closed out the Edinburgh festival Sunday, and was followed by a gala after-party at the Edinburgh College of Art, where the Big Bang Theory star climbed on stage with the college’s resident jazz band. The multi-talented 33-year-old then tickled the ivories for two off-the-cuff jazz numbers with the band.
Earlier, a nervous Helberg introduced the screening of We’ll Never Have Paris to the Scottish crowd, the first time the movie which Helberg wrote and co-directed with his wife Jocelyn Towne, 37, would screen outside of the United States.
“I’ve been in the country for 24 hours but I’ve had some Irn-Bru so it’s ok. I’m cool to hang with you guys,” Helberg told the fans, after a prolonged autograph session. “I’m still trembling.”
While this was going on, Helberg’s Big Bang Theory co-star Jim Parsons was also in the U.K., a bit further south, taking in a few matches at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships — while his Big Bang Theory alter-ego Sheldon Cooper is said to be riding the rails somewhere in search of a purpose to his life.
The year 2014 is barely half over and it has already been an extremely eventful one for The Big Bang Theory star Helberg and his wife Towne, who also comes from a prominent Hollywood family. Her uncle is screenwriter and director Robert Towne, best known for writing the 1974 classic mystery film Chinatown.
On April 23, Simon Helberg and Jocelyn Towne experienced the birth of their second child. Just two days later, their film We’ll Never Have Paris, had only its second public screening, at the Newport Beach International Film Festival in Southern California. The movie also screened at the Nantucket Film Festival in Massachusetts last Saturday.
While the Scottish audience reportedly enjoyed the film, critics have not been as kind to the directorial debut of the Big Bang Theory star. Variety called it, “grating,” while The Hollywood Reporter, albeit somewhat kinder, described the movie with the phrase, “pretty lightweight.”
Other critics were more harsh. The Scotsman newspaper slammed the Simon Helberg-penned film for its “flat-lining jokes and botched attempts at emotional sincerity.” Screen International dismissed We’ll Never Have Paris as “charmless.”
None of those reactions are likely to deter fans of The Big Bang Theory from seeking out the movie, in which Simon Helberg plays a fictional version of himself, whenever it screens. The film currently has no release date.
[Image: We’ll Never Have Paris Facebook]