Iain Armitage has been playing certified genius Sheldon Cooper on Young Sheldon (Thursdays at 7:30pET/PT on CTV) for five seasons now. Given how familiar his face is and how universally known his character is you’d think you'd know the basics of who this kid is. Well, you’d be wrong.
We sat down with the 13-year-old star to discuss some of the things you might not know about Armitage – from his (not-so) secret love of pets, to his unusual YouTube start, to the things he does in his spare time (i.e. the time when he's not being Sheldon Cooper). Read on to learn more about the talented TV star.
Over quarantine, Armitage found a new hobby that spoke to his love of animals: fostering hamsters. He started with Natasha and Poppy, who have since had “at least” 10 hamster pups. And then those pups grew up and had their own pups.
“So now I’m like a great, great, grandad,” Armitage says. “My little hamster community is thriving.”
These days, Armitage has two of his own pups: Romeo Marks and Julian Spencer. Sir Ian McKellen (after whom Iain is rumoured to be named) helped him come up with the names. “They’re my baby hamsters,” he adds. “I’m not fostering them.
Armitage loves animals so much he’s a vegetarian – but not a vegan as some have reported in the past. Although, he does admit he tries not to eat a lot of dairy because it doesn’t agree with him much. “I’ve never eaten meat in my life,” he shrugs.
Something else Armitage took up in quarantine was Russian. As in, he started teaching himself how to speak it. And he's GOOD. When we ask him about it, he started answering in Russian before realizing that we had no idea what he was saying (although we suspect he was telling us that yes, he is still learning to speak the language).
“I'm on an app, but my favourite way to learn is through talking to other people,” he said. “I have some friends at a local park. I like to go to speak Russian or Ukrainian, Armenian, sort of around that area. For the most part, we can talk and it's just really cool.”
Hot tip? If you speak Russian and ever meet Armitage, break it out. It will give him endless joy to be able to converse with you.
Armitage might not have siblings, but he has plenty of cousins, including a set of quadruplets and a set of twins. He says they were a bit more interested in his career this year when he landed a role in PAW Patrol: The Movie voicing pup leader Chase. According to Armitage, the younger ones were a bit confused by the concept of him becoming a dog, but overall they thought it was pretty cool.
In an un-Sheldon-like turn (or maybe this is actually totally on-brand for the character), Armitage is a seasoned Tae Kwan Do student. He’s been practicing for nearly 10 years now and holds a first brown belt—which is just below a black belt in many schools.
“Every belt level, you get a set of new things you have to learn,” he explains. “During my test for brown belt, we went through all of my forms, combinations and tech kicks. And then there’s different requirements like pushups and whatever. You just have to learn all that. It’s stressful, but it’s fun.”
At heart, Armitage is a theatre kid. He grew up on shows and first became famous as a bona fide theatre critic. When he was younger, he started posting his reviews on YouTube, and even went on to do red carpet interviews alongside grown-up journalists and critics. Naturally, the talent flocked to him.
These days, his account is still active, but it’s been a while since he could get to a show given the pandemic and his Young Sheldon filming schedule.
“Usually over the Young Sheldon hiatus we'll go to New York and we'll see shows and I'll review a whole bunch of things. I didn't get to do that this year because there is an international pandemic,” he says. “It's been kind of a problem. But you better believe the first chance I get, I'm going back to New York and seeing as many shows as I can.”
Speaking of theatre, it runs in the family. Iain’s dad, Euan Morton, is also a player. He won a Tony for his role as Boy George in Taboo, and he’s currently playing the role of King George in Hamilton.
In any extra spare time that Iain happens to have, he loves goofing around with two things: practicing tying complicated knots, and making effects videos. He says both are things not a lot of people know about him.
“I just like to do weird stuff, like reaching into my computer screen and grabbing things or whatever. They're not very good, but they're fun,” he admits.
When you’re 13 years old, isn’t fun really all that matters?
Watch Young Sheldon Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on CTV.
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