Fans of The Big Bang Theory will always know Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper. Since taking on the role in 2006, Parsons has embodied the role of the socially unaware and brilliant scientist with a close group of friends.
But to hear Parsons tell it, he’ll be glad to move on from Sheldon into a broader range of roles. Speaking to USA Today in an interview published earlier this week, Parsons revealed what he currently looks for in acting jobs.
“I’m not usually looking at any more scientists right now. I’m not veering away from comedy, but a juicy role that I feel I’m well-suited for that’s not a comedy would probably be more appealing to me right now.”
Parsons is currently starring alongside Rihanna in the animated feature Home and is set to star in the satirical An Act of God on Broadway later this year. He has had his share of dramatic roles, including The Normal Heart on Broadway and on television. Although Parsons is looking towards life after The Big Bang Theory, he is not restricting his options to a particular kind of role. He prefers to have an organic reaction to each part as it’s presented.
“I don’t feel singularly focused on finding — I don’t know, ‘I’ve got to play the husband of a dying woman’ or ‘I need to play in an adoption drama where we lose a child. The material always does present itself. When you read it, a character either speaks out to me as I’m reading it or it doesn’t.”
Overcoming Sheldon Cooper could be a challenge for Parsons. The character’s appeal has been infectious; even Guardian columnist Ross McGuinness wrote yesterday he became infatuated with the show after disliking it initially.
“Sheldon has grown on me like a particularly virulent fungus in a lab experiment, burrowing his way into my brain like those disgusting tiny eels from the planet Ceti Alpha V in his beloved Star Trek.”
But Parsons may find that his history in the theater may give him an outlet to further pursue his acting ambitions. During a press interview for Home, he revealed that theater gave him a sense of belonging that he had lacked while growing up.
“It made my artistic leanings, which weren’t always popular, acceptable. When I was older, it made being gay a non-issue, where in so many other realms, it would’ve been an issue. Not that it was all roses, but in my work environment and with my closest friends, being who I was was completely acceptable.”
Home has received lukewarm early reviews from critics, according to a survey by the Los Angeles Times. Many reviewers have found the film to be too similar to past animated movies. The movie opens Friday in the U.S.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays on CBS and returns with new episodes on April 2.
[Jim Parsons image courtesy of Getty]