Better known as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons makes his animated feature debut as the voice of Oh in Home. The comedian plays an alien invader who befriends a young girl called Tip, voiced by R&B star Rihanna. We caught up with him to talk about finding his voice and working with director Tim Johnson.
How did you get involved in making this movie?
I’d never heard of the book before, or these characters. They sent over a drawing of a little purple alien, and I was really charmed by it. I thought ‘my god, am I right to voice this little creature?’ But I really wanted to do an animated film…so I said yes, and it was so much fun to do.
Tip and Oh are literally from different worlds. Did their blossoming friendship strike a chord with you?
Absolutely. Especially as they come at it with preconceived notions – neither too pleasant actually. It’s not mean-spirited but it has been engrained into them what they’re supposed to think about each other. And they go the full-180°, in that they change their hearts and their minds about each other.
What do you think makes Oh so different from the rest of his species, the Boov?
They preach conformity, and his eagerness to be part of a group is much more enthusiastic than the vibe of the tribe. His desire to belong is too much, as far as they’re concerned. He wants friends very badly and they don’t look at that as important.
Why do you think Tip and Oh eventually become friends?
They’re both looking for that sense of home. She has been robbed of her mother, but she also reveals along the way that due to her childhood circumstances and the places she’s lived, that she hasn’t always had a group of friends and she hasn’t always belonged. And he very much comes at it from a place of not feeling like he belongs either.
What was your experience of working with director Tim Johnson?
Just wonderful. It’s been an extremely productive relationship and I think that’s because of his severe eagerness to make the very best movie he can, coupled with his vision for what the story is that we’re telling.
I came in wanting to make the most colourful and impactful character I could make with my voice. I wanted to be molded and shaped because I wasn’t always sure – especially when I first stepped into it. I felt very comfortable with Tim guiding me and trusted him when he’d say ‘let’s approach this part in this way’.
What do you hope audiences take away from Home?
I hope that it’s fun, and that they enjoy spending time with these characters. But I hope they take away this whole message of allowing everybody to be who they are and trying to approach everyone as a unique being; not coming at things with any sort of pre-judged notion or groupthink. Because when you do that in everyday life, you find some wonderfully surprising connections that can last a lifetime.
What does home mean to you?
Home to me is any place where I’m surrounded by people that I feel comfortable being myself around; that accept me for both the good and the bad. And nothing is stupid and nothing is wrong. You’re very fortunate when you find people who make you feel that way.
Home is out in UK cinemas on 20 March – read our review here, and check out our interview with producer Suzanne Buirgy here. For up-to-date news on the biggest movies, grab the latest issue of SciFiNow.