Simon Helberg Q&A: ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’
“I sort of felt like I left my body a little bit, which is good. I’m not that crazy about my body, so why not take a trip away from it,” laughs Simon Helberg after a busy Golden Globe weekend where he was nominated as Best Film Supporting Actor for “Florence Foster Jenkins.” In our recent webchat (watch above), he adds, “I genuinely almost forgot about the idea of winning or losing until the category came up, which was first, and I started to have major palpitations of the idea of getting up on that stage… Jeff Bridges came up and said, ‘We’re losers, man! Look at us, we’re in the loser’s circle, man!'”
The category was won by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”) against Helberg, Bridges (“Hell or High Water”), Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), and Dev Patel (“Lion”). The movie itself was up for Best Comedy/Musical Film, and both leads (Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant) were also nominated. Helberg says he enjoyed sitting at a table with the people from his film and especially felt like he was “witnessing history” when Streep gave her memorable speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for life achievement.
In the film, Helberg plays the real-life character of Cosme McMoon, a pianist hired by a wealthy husband (Hugh Grant) to accompany the title character, a New York heiress (Streep) who dreams of becoming an opera singer despite having a terrible singing voice. Oscar-nominated director Stephen Frears helmed the project. On working with the legendary actress, he admits, “I worked so closely with her for a long time, and there was a point in the beginning where I wanted to tell her how brilliant I think she is… so I finally did. You assume she hears it all the time, but at the same time people are afraid probably.”
In addition to this breakout film role, Helberg is in the middle of shooting his 10th season of “The Big Bang Theory.” The cast, which includes Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Mayim Bialik, Kunal Nayyar, and his on-screen wife Melissa Rauch, is nominated for the sixth straight time at the upcoming SAG Awards for Best TV Comedy Ensemble. He says in our chat that they are still unsure from CBS and Warner Bros. if this will be the last season but hopes it will continue for at least one more.