Actor Simon Helberg spoke recently “about co-starring with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins,’ ” the film set to open Friday, writes Bill Zwecker in Monday’s (8/8) Chicago Sun Times. Helberg, perhaps best known as Howard Wolowitz on television’s Big Bang Theory, says that to play the part of Cosme McMoon, “ ‘I had to play the piano convincingly and well.’ … In the film … Helberg’s McMoon signs on to become Jenkins’ accompanist, not realizing that while she thinks she’s truly a talented operatic singer, her singing in fact is really terrible…. Helberg explained that while director Stephen Frears and his producers enthusiastically cast him for the role of McMoon, the accompanist to the eccentric Jenkins, ‘my actual background is playing jazz piano.’ … Helberg did acknowledge his ability to play the instrument was a huge advantage to making his character more realistic in the movie…. Helberg said he came to ‘really love Florence and all she represented. The thing about her was how generous she was. She truly loved music and loved performing. The genius of Meryl is how she showed how Florence almost would get there—almost hitting the right notes—and then she didn’t.’ ”

Posted August 10, 2016