While the entire cast of The Big Bang Theory has gained worldwide fame for their work in the smash-hit series, Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper has always been the breakout character that fans adore. In a recent interview, Bill Prady, who created the show along with Chuck Lorre, recalled the amazing audition that Parsons gave for the role of Sheldon. Unfortunately, he was so good that the producers feared he would not be able to maintain that level on a regular basis.
"We saw - oh God, I don't know, 100 people? And when Jim Parsons came in, he was Sheldon on a level - you know, there were people who came in and you went, 'Okay, well, he's kind of okay,' 'Oh, he's pretty good,' 'Maybe he's the guy.' And Jim came in and he was just - from that audition, he was the Sheldon that you saw on television. He created that character at that audition. And he left the room and I turned and I went, 'That's the guy! That's the guy! That's the guy!' And Chuck Lorre turned and he said, 'Nah, he's gonna break your heart. He'll never give you that performance again.'
While Lorre had doubts, there was no question that Parsons was the man for the job. According to Prady, the issue of whether or not to hire the actor to play Sheldon was the only time his instinct won over Lorre's.
"I have to say, in the story of my relationship with Chuck, the number of times that I'm right and Chuck is wrong may be... I'm gonna go with one. This may be the only example of where I actually was right. And Jim Parsons came back in the next day and gave us that exact same performance again. It was like, 'This is Sheldon.'"
Prady's trust in Parsons bore fruity, and the actor, who was initially supposed to play a supporting role, quickly became known as the face of The Big Bang Theory. So much so that when Parsons decided to exit the show after more than a decade of playing Sheldon, the series itself came to a conclusion instead of trying to continue without him. Last year, Parsons admitted his desire to leave was prompted by a fear that he had not done everything he could in his career.
"I had this moment of clarity that I think you're very fortunate to get in a lot of ways, of going: 'Don't keep speeding by'. You know? 'Use this time to take a look around'. And I did... If you told me that, like my father, I had six years left to live, I think there's other things I need to try and do. I don't even know what they are, but I can tell that I need to try."
The Big Bang Theory aired on CBS from 2007-2019 and starred Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik. The show is currently streaming on HBO Max. Check out the full interview at TheCreativeCoalition.