Skip to main content

Jim Parsons became a member of Ryan Murphy’s acting company when he started in the movie adaptation of The Normal Heart. The Big Bang Theory star never appeared on American Horror Story or American Crime Story, not yet at least. Parsons was in Hollywood and the Netflix movie of The Boys in the Band. Now he’s come to consider Murphy a guardian angel.

Ryan Murphy and Jim Parsons
L-R: Jim Parsons and Ryan Murphy | John Sciulli/Getty Images for LOUIS XIII

Parsons was a guest on the HPFA In Conversation podcast on Sept. 23 to discuss The Boys in the Band. When the subject turned to his collaborations with Murphy, Parsons explained why Murphy is his angel, guardian or otherwise. 

When Jim Parsons met Ryan Murphy

After six years of working together, Parsons considers Murphy his angel. He means it, too.

“I mean, it’s sort of joking but I really mean it in my heart,” Parsons said. “Ryan is a bit of an angel for me. I don’t know if it’s guardian angel or what.”

Parsons had appeared on stage in The Normal Heart. So Murphy called him when he wa preparing to direct the movie for HBO.

Jim Parsons as Henry Wilson
Jim Parsons | Netflix

“I was still new enough in town that I was like well, what hoops do I have to jump through to get this?” Parsons said. “I never left a meeting like that going I’m doing it. Whereas I left that meeting and he was like well, we just talked about him doing it so he’s on board. I was like okay. He was only calling me in to go, ‘So we’re going to have a good time doing it, right?’ It was the first time he had that what I would call an angel quality of just dropping out of somewhere and going you, you come do this.”

‘The Boys In the Band’ began during ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Parsons did The Boys in the Band on stage in 2018 while he was still on The Big Bang Theory. Murphy also produced the show.

Holland Taylor and Ryan Murphy | Saeed Adyani/Netflix

“The next time was the play version of Boys in the Band,” Parsons said. “I worked very closely with Joe Mantello as the director at the time. The whole idea to do it, Ryan approached Joe. That really not only was such a rewarding career experience. It had some profound psychological impacts on me to play that part. It was a wonderful thing for me both as an actor and as a human. I have him to thank for that. Then the movie version of this which is part and parcel to that.”

‘Hollywood’ gave Jim Parsons his biggest shift from ‘The Big Bang Theory’

After playing Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory for 12 seasons, Parsons needed to show audiences his range. Henry Wilson in Murphy’s series Hollywood was the perfect opportunity.

“During the filming of the [Boys in the Band] movie, Ryan knocked on my trailer and presented me with this show idea for Hollywood and this character who was a real person, Henry Wilson, who I’d never heard of and knew nothing about,” Parsons said. “I don’t know how many, if any other people in Hollywood the town, would have thought of me for that part.”

Even Parsons wouldn’t have imagined himself in the role. That’s why Murphy is his angel.

Big Bang Theory Star Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons | Netflix

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Jim Parsons Explains Why Coming Out To His Mother Was ‘Not Fun’

“I don’t know, had I read Robert Hofler’s brilliant biography about him, The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson, if I’d have ever thought I should play that,” Parsons said. “But, Ryan has an almost magical quality of seeing possibilities in people, not just actors but designers and everything, that they either didn’t know at all that they had within them or that they suspect so deep inside that they’re not conscious of it yet. And for me that really felt the closest explanation between the relationship between me and this character that Ryan tapped into for me.”