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The small ‘bang’
Iain Armitage, the protagonist in Young Sheldon, stumbled into acting
Iain Armitage was seen as a troubled Ziggy Chapman in hit show Big Little Lies, and then entered The Big Bang Theory universe as the lead character in its prequel Young Sheldon. The child actor says he didn’t dream of getting into showbiz, and considers it to be a happy turn of events.
“My very first gig was Big Little Lies and then I did a few other things. I think Big Little Lies was a pretty good one to start with,” Armitage said in an email interview.
“I kind of stumbled on acting. I didn’t think, ‘I want to be an actor when I grow up’. I do theatre reviews and I always thought I was just a great audience member. I loved coming to shows. I don’t watch too much TV, which is ironic. An agency asked if we’d like them to represent me, and we said, ‘Yes.’ My wonderful agents are pretty incredible,” added the 9-year-old.
Armitage’s started as a theatre critic, but found his big ticket to fame with Big Little Lies as Ziggy, son of actress Shailene Woodley’s character Jane.
The son of actor-singer Euan Morton and Lee Armitage has also featured in Indian filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s directorial Our Souls at Night, and is seen as young Sheldon Cooper in a The Big Bang Theory spin-off which focussed on Sheldon’s life while growing up.
The Big Bang Theory universe originated with the story of how four nerds — Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) — react when a girl Penny (Kaley Cuoco) enters their life as a friendly neighbour.
With all the idiosyncrasies, quirky behaviour, cultural one-liners — including a lot of Indian references courtesy British-Indian actor Kunal — as well as dating fundas, the story that highlights the personal life of scientists and geeks was loved by one and all, making it a phenomenon. To cash in on the popularity of the show worldwide, the makers extended the franchise with the prequel, which is aired in India on Comedy Central.
He might be essaying the role of Sheldon Cooper, but he hasn’t seen The Big Bang Theory till now. “Well Big Bang... isn’t really appropriate for me, plus it’s not really aimed at my audience level. So, I only watched a few clips. I haven’t really watched Big Bang..., though I would love to see it. Jim (Parsons) was coaching me so I got the character pretty quickly. He is a very fun guy and very nice.”
Is it challenging to get into a role — which one hasn’t been following meticulously? “It’s not too hard. Once you get in Sheldon’s mindset it’s easier to do it. Getting into that mindset is kind of hard but you get to do it every day.”
“And putting on the clothes of Sheldon and reciting my lines, going to hair and make-up and doing Sheldon’s voice, all that helps me to get into character. Once I am on stage, it comes more naturally,” he said, describing Sheldon as “funny, a misfit but in a funny way”.
Getting into confession mode, he said, “I do love science but I’m definitely not as smart as him.”
At the moment, Armitage, who will soon be seen in Big Little Lies season two, is “just glad to be a part of something that makes people happy”.
“When I do get recognised, I feel happy that those people are happy,” he concluded.
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