Jim Parsons on TV's Gay Characters and Painful Contract Negotiations

Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons
 Austin Hargrave

This summer had its ups and downs for The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons

The 41-year-old actor won his third Emmy last month for playing Sheldon on the hit CBS sitcom, along with picking up a nomination for his role in HBO's The Normal Heart. But he also made headlines for a less glamorous reason, as he and his Big Bang co-stars were embroiled in contract negotiations with Warner Bros. Television that briefly delayed production on the show's eighth season.

"There's no joy in going, 'OK, we're not starting,' " Parsons tells Adweek about production having been postponed on the show for a week. "That was not fun. We enjoy doing this show." That said, Parsons acknowledges that these kinds of contract negotiations are par for the course. He and fellow stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting are said to now be making $1 million per episode, along with an increased percentage of the backend.

Now that he's back to work, Parsons is happy to be playing Sheldon again, although the part has a different feel for him than it first did. "I never get bored playing Sheldon," he said. "You get used to it — and that's good, too ... it can help to deepen things, but it's so nice to have a reminder of the remarkable character you've been given a chance to inhabit."

Parsons, who nonchalantly came out as gay in a May 2012 interview with The New York Times, is heartened by seeing more gay characters on TV who are not defined by their orientation. He's happy that gay characters can just be "normal people." 

As for the biggest difference for the actor between starring on a series and performing in The Normal Heart on Broadway, he admitted that Heart required him to be a lot more aware of what his entire body was doing. "There is no tight shot [on Broadway]," he said. 

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@pgmedia.org
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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