Zoe Perry has big shoes to fill on The Big Bang Theory spinoff Young Sheldon — her mother’s!
The actress, who currently stars alongside her father Jeff Perry on Scandal, will take up the mantle of Sheldon Cooper’s god-fearing mother Mary Cooper on the spinoff. The role was first brought to life on The Big Bang Theory by Perry’s mother, Laurie Metcalf.
Despite the familial connection — and uncanny resemblance in appearance and cadence — Perry told EW she still went through a “typical” audition process, “except that there was this other crazy layer to it,” Perry said Saturday night at the Scandal 100th episode party. “I went in and auditioned for the casting directors and for [executive producers] Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro. Then, the rest is my lucky history.”
The half-hour, single-camera comedy will follow a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper (Big Little Lies’ Iain Armitage) living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. It’s for that reason that Perry looked to her mother for inspiration. “I did run one of the scenes with her because I was curious to hear her accent doing it,” Perry says. “Although I actually didn’t have her read the lines because then that would’ve just stuck in my head. But I made her talk a little bit and I rewatched some of her stuff.”
However, much like Sheldon in his formative years is probably much different than the one portrayed by Jim Parsons — who is set to executive-produce and also narrate the comedy as Adult Sheldon — the two Mary Coopers probably won’t be identical. The same can be said for the spinoff. “It’s interesting because there is a tonal difference between Big Bang and Young Sheldon,” Perry says. “Big Bang is a multi, and now this one is a single camera. It’ll be really interesting for audiences to see where they’re similar and how they diverge. I think audiences are going to be really, really surprised and excited about it.”
While Perry admits taking on the role that earned her mother an Emmy nomination last year is both daunting and exciting — “Daunting has always been mixed in there, but right now it’s just exciting,” she says — the actress finds that both her parents have inspired her. “When I’m acting, there are moments where I’m thinking, ‘I sound like my mom when I say that,’ or ‘I sound like my dad when I say that,” Perry says. “Now working with both of them, it’s like, ‘I sound like them when I say that!’ It’s surreal.”
Young Sheldon, which was ordered straight-to-series, will air sometime in the 2017-2018 season on CBS. In the meantime, catch Perry on Scandal Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.