Highlights Jim Parsons was convinced to voice Young Sheldon after meeting his young counterpart Iain Armitage and developing strong feelings for him. Iain Armitage was chosen for the role of Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon among many young actors due to his talent. It was revealed whether or not Jim Parsons was initially protective of Iain Armitage.
Even though twelve seasons of The Big Bang Theory aired, many fans of the popular show weren't ready for it to end when it did. The reason for that was many fans didn't want to say goodbye to the Big Bang Theory characters they'd come to love.
Like his former Big Bang Theory co-stars who are rich and famous,
In the years since Iain Armitage was hired to star in Young Sheldon, Jim Parsons has spoken about the process of casting him several times. As a result, it is known that loads of young actors were given the opportunity to send in an audition tape to star in Young Sheldon.
Considering that Armitage faced so much competition for the role that made him famous, it makes fans wonder why he was the one who got the role. In the past, Parsons and Young Sheldon's co-creator Chuck Lorre have spoken about how talented Armitage is.
Of course, It makes sense to listen to Lorre and Parsons explain what about Armitage made him stand out to them. That said, when Armitage appeared on The Creative Coalition podcast in 2022, he explained his perspective on the decision which landed him the role of Sheldon Cooper.
"Because I wasn't really trying to replicate Mister Jim, I think I was sort of just showing that I was a kid who could take direction and also bring some of my own idea to it. I think that was kind of what they were looking for, and not as much just a complete impersonation of Mister Jim."
After the mammoth success that The Big Bang Theory enjoyed, it was safe to say that the expectations for the show's spin-off were very high. While Young Sheldon didn't have to get the same ratings that The Big Bang Theory received to be considered a hit, attracting a small but devoted audience wasn't good enough.
Given the expectations that CBS and fans had for Young Sheldon, everyone involved in the show's production had to feel the pressure. That said, as the show's titular star and the one taking over a role that was immensely popular with viewers, Iain Armitage likely was under more pressure than anyone else.
Given how intense it must have been for Armitage, it would have been nice if the child star felt like Jim Parsons was there to protect him. After all, Parsons was the actor known for the role Armitage was taking over. However, Armitage also had to figure out how to handle the pressure and fame for himself, so it would have been bad if Parsons was too protective.
Of course, the only people who know how protective Parsons was of Armitage are the people with personal knowledge of the situation. That said, based on what the actors have said about their relationship, it certainly is possible for observers to draw conclusions.
In 2018, Parsons appeared at PaleyFest at the Dolby Theatre and spoke in front of an audience. During that event, Parsons spoke about first seeing the recording of Armitage auditioning for Young Sheldon which the young actor sent in.
"We saw his audition on tape, and I don't know how to put this other than to say it was kind of jaw-dropping." As Parsons explained Armitage was only 9 years old when he recorded the video and the lines of dialogue he had to deliver were deliberately very complicated. "It was just trial by fire: if you can't do this, you can't trust him."
Once Parsons saw how expertly Armitage handled those lines, he was blown away. In fact, Parsons told the PaleyFest audience that he'd become extremely invested in Armitage succeeding when he auditioned in person.
"Anyway, so we finally met in person and that was a different experience. I was nervous to meet him, which is stupid. I act like he was this 30-year-old. I was overly protective of his audition, which he didn't need me to be. I don't know how to describe it -- the audition was just phenomenal."
Given that Parsons described himself as "overly protective" of Armitage, that is strong evidence he was just that. However, people often say hyperbolic things like that which aren't accurate, so there is more to consider.
In 2017, Parsons was talking to Entertainment Tonight about Young Sheldon when he sang Armitage's praises. "We have a lot more in common now than I would have had at the same age. I wasn't mature enough at 9. I was not an overly bright child. I was mediocre. I didn't befuddle my parents."
Around the same time, Parsons spoke to Fox News about Young Sheldon. During that interview, he described how he reacted once promotional material for Young Sheldon started to pop up. According to Parsons, his belief in the young actor made him react by reaching out to Armitage's mom in an attempt to protect Young Sheldon's star from what was to come.
"When I saw the marketing and all the posters with Iain's face on them, I texted [Iain's mom] immediately, 'prepare'. I think they are prepared."
Based on his own comments, there is no doubt that Parsons was deeply invested in Armitage's success and wanted to protect him. However, the real question is whether Parsons has taken his attempts to protect Armitage too far.
In 2017, Iain Armitage spoke to TV Guide about what it has been like to work with Parsons on Young Sheldon. Based on Armitage's comments, Parsons used to give his younger counterpart advice on how to portray Sheldon Cooper, but he was a joy to be around. "He's really kind and fun to be around and he makes anyone happy."
Months later in January 2018, Parsons and Armitage were jointly interviewed by Deadline. During that conversation, Armitage attempted to credit Parsons for helping guide his Young Sheldon performance. However, Parsons instantly chimed in to say "not anymore!". Assuming Parsons was telling the truth, it seems clear he gave Armitage the space to make Sheldon Cooper his own.
Based on everything that they've both said, Parsons has been there for Armitage from the start and has done his best to protect the young actor. However, it seems like Parsons has also given Armitage space over time. From the outside looking in, it seems like Parsons isn't "overly protective", he just wants the best for Armitage.