Jim Parsons has been a part of CBS’ prime-time lineup for years now, as star of the country’s most popular sitcom. But as The Big Bang Theory is well into its eighth season, Parsons is telling Entertainment Weekly that his only ambition was to be a working actor.
“[T]he goal really was to, and I mean this quite succinctly and literally, do what I had to do to earn my living as an actor. There are a lot of different ways that dream could have been realized. This one has been very fruitful in that way obviously. However, it could have been a million things.”
Parsons spoke with EW in advance of his December 1 performance in Merton of the Movies, a reading to benefit the Roundabout Theatre Company. He starred in the company’s production of Harvey in 2012.
Before Big Bang Theory, Parsons was a theater actor with bit parts in television and independent film. He said the success of the show caught him by surprise. It has changed his live not only financially — the cast signed lucrative contracts over the summer and Big Bang Theory has been green lit through Season 10 — but given him stability he never thought he would experience.
“TV is extremely unique in an actor’s life for anybody who ends up on [a show]. Plays end, movies end, anything else ends. Eight years working on anything for an actor is a very strange proposition. I have really enjoyed it and reveled in it, but there are ways in which it goes against the grain of what your DNA told you you were aiming at. Most people didn’t get into acting for stability.”
In addition to keeping tabs on Broadway and showing up for his regular job on Theory, Parsons has been lending his talents to other film projects. He voices an alien in Home, co-starring Rihanna and Steve Martin, which is due out in March. Over the holidays, NBC viewers can see him star in the animated Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.
As for those feelings of stability, Parsons told EW he manages to enjoy Theory because despite the consistencies of the work week-to-week, the show continues to change and evolve. He anticipates that when the show eventually wraps, he will be back to his old mindset of the everyday actor searching for work.
“It’s the same character and I work with mostly the same people every week, but different stories, different situations, different things to play, so still something changes. It would be impossible for me to imagine what life’s going to look like when the show is over. It’s even hard for me to imagine every summer hiatus that we have. It’s obviously different in some ways, but it’s funny how fast the old feelings return of what now, what now? The eternal question no matter how much work you put into things for an actor.”
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays on CBS. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas will be broadcast on December 16.
[Jim Parsons Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY]