The name’s Armitage. Iain Armitage. Right now he’s deployed in comedy Young Sheldon as the titular neurotic genius, but in future you might see him on a mission as secret agent James Bond.
Well, he’s up for it, anyway. When asked by RadioTimes.com what acting projects he could be interested in when he grows up, nine-year-old Armitage said he wouldn’t turn down “anything with awesome special effects, like fires. Anything with smoke machines or fire, I'm fine with! Crazy intense action scenes – anything like that!”
And when we floated the idea of playing her Majesty’s finest asset to Armitage, he replied with an enthusiastic nod alongside a namecheck of “James Bond!”. Tom Hardy, you've got competition.
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But just in case he’s not cast as 007 in future, there is another beloved figure Armitage aspires to become: Meryl Streep. After meeting the multi-Oscar-winner on the set of HBO's Big Little Lies season two – where Armitage will reprise his role as Ziggy, son of Shailene Woodley’s Jane – the young actor was taken by her down-to-earth attitude.
“She's very sweet and really nice! I had watched her in Mamma Mia and I knew she was a renowned actress, but she was really nice and she didn't act weird or anything,” he said. “She was really kind and really genuine and really honest. She wasn't stuck up at all! I aspire to be her – a good actor and never to get a big head about it!”
Armitage also revealed that filming is ongoing with Streep, who has joined the cast as Mary Louise Wright, mother to Alexander Skarsgård's Perry Wright.
Luckily, Armitage also has a backup profession in case he doesn’t become Streep or Bond: a magician. Specifically, a pyro-magician. “I love card tricks and there a lot of card tricks that involve fire!” he said.
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“And there's a trick called a fire wallet where you're at a cash register and you take out your wallet and it sets on fire. I think it would be a great prank! I want it now, but it would be kind of weird if a kid took out his wallet. My mum has promised me she'd buy me a fire wallet when I'm 20, though!"
Fortunately, Armitage manages to pull off pranks via less incendiary means on the Young Sheldon set.“There's one person that's really easy to scare and I love scaring her!" he said. "Her name is Miss Gina – she's our costume person. She'll knock on the door to my dressing room and I hide in the bathroom immediately. She knocks again and then comes in. Nothing's there and she puts my costumes on the rack and I go [mimes jumping out]. The fun part is it gets her every time! Every time!”
But Gina-terrorising apart, Armitage is known for his polite on-set persona. “He is very nice with beautiful manners. And beautiful professional manners," Annie Potts, who plays Meemaw in Young Sheldon, told Radiotimes.com. "He’s particularly wired in his performance.
“When we started working together he’d just turned nine, so every once in a while we do have to say, ‘You need to focus. Can you be with us?’. He’s very hard on himself if he feels like he’s wandered a little bit. And usually, he’ll come back after the scene is done and say, ‘I’m very sorry I wasn’t focused! Very sorry!’”
Charming, with a penchant for troublemaking? This is exactly why Armitage could make a great Bond and an even better Meryl Streep.
Young Sheldon is on Thursdays at 8pm on E4