As Sheldon Cooper on the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons won the hearts of TV audiences as a brilliant physicist with painfully awkward social skills. Now Young Sheldon, starring Iain Armitage in the title role, takes viewers back to the childhood of the character, with Parsons behind the scenes
as as narrator and executive producer. Young Sheldon premieres Sept. 25 on CBS.
Young Sheldon was based on Parsons’ real-life 11-year-old nephew. His sister’s oldest child—who asked his parents for Walmart stock for a birthday present—is “for sure unique insofar as his mental capacity in our family,” Parsons says.
Although he’s only 9, Armitage already has an impressive acting résumé. He played Ziggy, the son of Shailene Woodley’s character, in HBO’s Big Little Lies. He was one of the kids in The Glass Castle alongside Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts. And in the upcoming Netflix movie Our Souls at Night, he’ll play the grandson of Jane Fonda’s character.
When he’s not acting, Armitage has a long list of hobbies. “I’m a magician,” he says. “I do mind reading. I do card tricks.” And he loves to tap-dance.
Parsons says working with his young protégé has reawakened him to the joys he experienced when he first started acting, first off-Broadway, then in small movie parts. “Watching Iain work, being around him, going to see Broadway shows with him while we were both in New York, reminds me of all the wonderful things that are right in front of us,” he says.