Simon Helberg: from Big Bang nerd to Meryl Streeps cartoonish pianist

The Big Bang Theory star is like a walking exclamation mark as the accompanist to the awful soprano Florence Foster Jenkins. Will the role help to make him the Jennifer Aniston of his megahit sitcom?

Last year, Stephen Frears hada man round for tea. His name was Simon Helberg, and Frears had just cast him as an accompanist in his new film, about a howlingly awful operatic soprano in 1940s New York who somehow still managed to sell out Carniege Hall faster than Frank Sinatra. Frears needed someone who could playpiano as well as act his composer, Alexandre Desplat, tipped him off about Helberg. A happy meeting with the films star, Meryl Streep (I just think he fell from heaven, she explains), cemented the deal.

Anyway, after tea, Frears took his young protege for a stroll round Notting Hill. People came out of their houses just to stare at him, the director remembers. They were wide-eyed. They couldnt believe he was here. It was then I thought: That show really ispopular

That show is The Big Bang Theory, the long-running US sitcom about science nerds that is watched by about 15 million people each week few of them of an age to be the target market for Florence Foster Jenkins.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/05/simom-helberg-big-bang-theory-cartoonish-pianist-florence-foster-jenkins

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