Jim Parsons Q&A: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ & ‘The Normal Heart’
If Jim Parsons claims Best Comedy Actor at this year's Emmys for his work as Dr. Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory" he will be tied for most wins in that race with Carroll O'Connor ("All in the Family"), Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier"), and Michael J. Fox ("Family Ties" and "Spin City"). In our recent webcam chat, he readily said, "I'm still astounded a third one happened.
As he elaborated: "Part of me is still astounded a first one ever happened. It's such a wonderful part of the journey with this TV show. This would be a wonderful journey if we never got to go to the Emmys. The show has been successful, and people really enjoy it. But the added perc of getting to go to this celebration of television… is really hard to put words to."
And he could win yet another prize on Emmy night, Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor, thanks to his role as 1980s AIDS activist Tommy Boatwright in "The Normal Heart." Directed by Ryan Murphy, the telefilm is based on Larry Kramer's Tony-winning play about the early years of the epidemic in New York City; Parsons played the same role in the 2011 rialto revival.
Of the dual work on stage and film, he said, "The intensity and connection I felt to the other actors was surprisingly similar to the play. I kind of thought that would wane or be a little less intense because it wasn't every night over and over. You'd work a couple of days, and you'd have a week off maybe. We really made a connection by going through this material together."
For the HBO project, his role was beefed up somewhat as he explained: "The eulogy scene was not only added, but it was a different side of Tommy than any other scene in the play is. There's a lot of capitulating and trying to make people get along that he does in these scenes. It's one of my favorite things about playing him. He's a bit of a peacekeeper, but he's trying to keep the job going, the help going."