Video Interview: FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS’ Simon Helberg dishes about Meryl Streep, talks good-bad movies


IMG_3836Preston Barta // Editor

It’s a big year for actor Simon Helberg. His beloved character Howard Wolowitz is about to become a father in the upcoming 10th season of THE BIG BANG THEORY. He also stars opposite Meryl Streep in Stephen Frears’ wonderfully sentimental biopic FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS.

The film, which opened in theaters today, is inspired by the true story of a 1940s New York opera singer (played by Streep) with a heart full of gold, pockets full of cash and a voice that’s flatter than a pancake.

Her devoted partner (an excellent Hugh Grant) works hard to shield her from any mockery. But when Jenkins lands a performance opportunity at Carnegie Hall, well, it becomes a horse of a different color.

Helberg portrays Cosmé McMoon, a classical pianist who walks a fine line of controlling his reactions to her tuneless singing. It’s a performance that Helberg wears like a suit. He brings forth his comical talents we’ve come to recognize over the years, along with a dash of warmth and charm to savor.

We sat down with Helberg in Dallas, TX, recently to discuss his personal experience of offering criticism, working with the legend that is Streep, and movies so bad, they’re good… like Nicolas Cage’s THE WICKER MAN!


About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.