Yesterday it was reported that Sheldon, the working title for The Big Bang Theory's in-development young Sheldon Cooper spin-off, cast its kid and his mother. Big Little Lies' Iain Armitage will play the boy genius, and Zoe Perry will play his religious fanatic mother.
Perry is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who recurs as Sheldon's mother on The Big Bang Theory, so her casting will keep the character of Mary Cooper very close to the original. But Sheldon's father died when he was 14, long before The Big Bang Theory takes place, so there's no set template for what George Cooper, Sr. is supposed to be.
All we know about George is from what other characters have said about him. We know he was kind of a redneck simpleton who liked to drink whiskey and shoot guns. We know he didn't get along with Sheldon's mother and cheated on her -- Sheldon knocks three times before entering a room because he once walked in on his father in bed with another woman. He was a jerk, but Sheldon loved him.
The role would have to be filled by a 40ish white man who can play dumb and preferably is tall (Jim Parsons is 6'1").
Here are four possibilities.
This journeyman comic actor is ready for his big break. He's stolen scenes in everything from New Girl and the hit movie Bad Moms to Masters of Sex. He's anchored a sitcom before -- About a Boy, which ran for two seasons from 2014 to 2015. He gains Sheldon points for being 6'4", but loses points for having attended Brown University like a smartypants. He's currently attached to another CBS pilot called 9J, 9K and 9L, but if that doesn't work out, CBS may still want to keep him around.
DJ Qualls has made a career out of playing squirelly Southerners in movies like Hustle & Flow and series like Memphis Beat. With his gangly frame and bright blue eyes, he even looks a bit like Jim Parsons. He's actually appeared on The Big Bang Theory before, playing an actor hired to play Sheldon's nonexistent cousin Leopold way back in Season 1. He's currently a cast member on Amazon's The Man In the High Castle, but he could probably be persuaded to give that up.
Early-00s heartthrob Chris Klein first rose to prominence playing a dopey heartlander in the movie Election, so we know he could do this. He's the right age, he's tall and he's funny. He looks like he could be a more masculine Sheldon. And he'd probably leap at the chance to be involved. He could get a letter of recommendation from Kaley Cuoco; they co-starred in a movie called Authors Anonymous.
If CBS and Warner Bros. want a big star for the role, they could do worse than Ashton Kutcher. He would bring the same qualifications as Chris Klein, but more so. Plus, he has experience coming in late to a Chuck Lorre property, having taken over after Charlie Sheen left Two and a Half Men.
Who do you want to play Sheldon's dad?
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