Jim Parsons on 'Big Bang Theory' contract dispute and double Emmy nods
At the end of last season on The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon finally had to cope with not getting what he wanted in his career. That’s not a problem Jim Parsons is dealing with these days. In addition to his two Emmy nominations—one for playing Sheldon Cooper, the other for Tommy Boatwright in the gut-wrenching HBO movie The Normal Heart—Parsons’ salary for Big Bang skyrocketed from $350,000 per episode to $1 million after a contract dispute that pushed back production on the eighth season. After a week-long delay, production began on Aug. 6.
Parsons sees the whole brouhaha as a simple issue. “I always thought everything would be worked out by the start date [July 30],” he tells EW. “When it wasn’t, it certainly wasn’t a good feeling, but there was absolutely no getting around the fact that everything had to be dealt with and finished before we could get back.” He says reports of the dispute were overblown. “You see the word ‘strike’—’They’re walking out!’—but there was nothing to walk out from,” he says with a laugh. “That’s always hard, because part of you wants to explain to people what’s really going on. ‘Don’t worry, we’re not leaving, we want to do the show.'”
As for all those zeroes? “I came from a family in Texas who simply never spoke about money,” he says. “When suddenly everybody is guessing, or some even getting close, to the ballpark of what you’re earning—well, that’s interesting, that everyone knows what you make. It is what it is, and the job is so wonderful that those minor oddities are well worth the ride.”
Looking forward to the Emmys, Parsons has different feelings about his very different nominations. “To be nominated again for Big Bang, is at least as touching to me, if not more so now, than it was the first time,” he says. “Look, I’m only human and therefore there’s a part of me that’s waiting for people to say, ‘Enough of you!'”
As for his nomination for Normal Heart, “I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel really good to know that people had seen and thought it was also good work, because again, it is such a different ball of wax from the life of Sheldon.”