We caught up the stars of Young Sheldon, Iain Armitage and Zoe Perry, to find out what’s in store in Season Two.
Currently in its second season, The Big Bang Theory prequel spin-off Young Sheldon has since been renewed for a third and fourth series – a testament to the big bang that star Iain Armitage brings as the childhood incarnation of the gifted character immortalised by Jim Parsons, Sheldon Cooper.
When STACK speaks with the precocious 11-year-old, he’s been enjoying a busy week in Australia prior to attending the Logies, including a visit to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, Luna Park and the Opera House.
Having thoroughly invested the young Sheldon Cooper with his own sweet persona, it’s sometimes difficult to separate the two. “I’ve had plenty of people think I am actually Sheldon, and I’m like, ‘um, okay,’” he says. “I’m not, but I actually do like it when people call me Sheldon.” (STACK breathes a sigh of relief, should we make this easy slip-up during our chat.)
When it comes to comprehending the math and physics terms rattled off by the young genius, however, his answer is a big ‘no’.
In capturing the quirks of the older Sheldon, Armitage says that Parsons was happy to provide some helpful pointers. “I had a couple of lessons from Jim about Sheldon’s little quirks, and he also performed some of the lines I would be doing with Zoe Perry, who plays my mom.”
Perry, too, also had the perfect mentor – her mother Laurie Metcalf having played the older Mary Cooper on Big Bang. “There’s definitely an ease in knowing that genetics will play a part,” she laughs.
“Prior to the audition I had gone back and rewatched all of her episodes,” she adds. “I definitely wanted to make sure I had the voice and mannerisms on point. I think her best advice was some very good acting advice. She said, ‘you don’t really have to play the laughs because the writing is so good and so funny, and that kind of does the work for you. Just keep it grounded.’ And I found that to be so true.
“This Mary Cooper is at a different stage of life when we’re introduced to her on Young Sheldon, so she’s kind of a different person. The writers just give me so much to play with that I feel a lot of freedom with that.
“There’s a lot of wonderful realism and heart in the show that I hope audiences enjoy as much as I do.”
With the series’ ethos steeped in the 1980s, Gen X-ers will certainly find plenty to enjoy in Young Sheldon. “A big component of the show is the nostalgia factor,” agrees Perry. “Even for younger audiences, it’s fun for them too. There’s something about a world pre-smartphones and devices – it’s such a different way of communicating. And you’d get bored and have to figure out how to entertain yourself, like setting off firecrackers in the backyard.”
When we ask Armitage if he would have liked to grow up during that particular decade, he isn’t entirely sure. “Maybe… There are some things that are really cool, and some things I do not fancy.” One of those being a mullet, like the one sported by brother Georgie. “That’s a pretty dangerous one,” he laughs. “Mullets are not my favourite hairstyle.”
As to what viewers can look forward to in the second season of the show, Armitage promises it will be ‘a jam-packed wild ride’. “There are so many Easter eggs from The Big Bang Theory that cross over to Young Sheldon, and so many more origin stories,” he says.
“In the first season of any show, the audience and creative team alike are all getting to know this universe,” adds Perry. “And then once we get more comfortable in it, you get to expand it and see different dynamics between the characters and different sides of people. There’s more opportunity for tensions to flare and quirks and humour to grow. If audiences liked season one, they should definitely come back for season two.”