Once upon a time, 21st-century English television’s favourite science nerd Sheldon Cooper had a loving mother and father, a quick-witted sister, and a jock brother. The Cooper family’s tales from events long before the hit CBS television series The Big Bang Theory unfold in the ongoing prequel series, Young Sheldon.
Set in the conservative town of East Texas in the early 1990s, Young Sheldon follows its titular nine-year-old hero (Iain Armitage) getting by in an unfavourable environment with his high intellect and imperfect social skills. Zoe Perry and Lance Barber play his amiable parents. Raegan Revord plays Missy, Sheldon’s twin sister, and Montana Jordan plays the elder brother, George.
Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, is one of the executive producers. The series has had two seasons so far, both of which are available in India on Amazon Prime Video. Ahead of the third season, due to be telecast on CBS in September in the United States, Revord and Jordan had a chat with Scroll.in about Young Sheldon.
For 11-year-old Revord and 16-year-old Jordan, playing the Coopers was like being part of an actual family. “It’s like a home away from home,” Revord said. “Zoe and Lance are like my second mom and dad.”
The three child actors of Young Sheldon have different backgrounds. The son of a theatre producer, the 10-year-old Armitage began reviewing theatre on YouTube before being part of productions such as the first season of the HBO series Big Little Lies and Ritesh Batra’s film Our Souls At Night.
Revord has come up through television commercials and shows, including a short appearance in the ABC channel sitcom Modern Family. Jordan, however, had almost no acting experience.
The boy from Texas claims “not be much of a film and television guy”, and in fact, hadn’t seen a single episode of The Big Bang Theory before joining Young Sheldon. His only previous acting stint was in the Netflix film The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, which happened by accident.
“I had no idea who Josh Brolin or Danny McBride were,” Jordan said about his co-stars. “My mother’s friend informed my mother of a casting call. So I did a few auditions in Texas, and went for the final one to North Carolina. Coming on Young Sheldon was also a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
Jordan’s George is a high-school American football player. He is not the smartest kid in the room, and is often jealous of Sheldon’s intellectual capabilities. Jordan feels that George is pretty close to who he is as a person. “We both have a messy room. I am an athlete and I have played baseball and football. But he’s got more of an attitude,” Jordan said.
Likewise, Revord finds herself similar to Missy, but given a choice, she would be “book smart” like her on-screen sibling Sheldon, than be “street smart” like her character. It turns out that Revord is writing a fantasy fiction novel called The Goldie Diaries. “I’m halfway through it,” she said.
Revord’s Missy shares a love-hate relationship with her on-screen twin, which Revord says mirrors the equation she shares with co-star Armitage off screen. “We fight and then we are back to being friends,” Revord said. “We both love reading, singing, music and dance.”
How hard is it for Revord, who has been a regular in show business for years, to have friends her age? “Harder than it looks.” She had to squeeze in her studies between shooting breaks. “Miss Andy teaches me during shots,” she said.
While Revord claims that the acting experience on Young Sheldon over three seasons has made her “strong in emotional scenes that require crying”, Jordan is taking life easy. “Wherever the wind takes me,” he said on being asked about his plans. For now, Jordan is busy releasing YouTube videos about attempting to be a Texan in Los Angeles. The latest episode has him trying to learn golf.