Covering entertainment journalism in the 21st century means, in no small part, covering rumors about the making of movies based on iconic comic-book characters. This field of entertainment news reporting is one where almost any image can be spun as a potential indicator of what to expect (or to not expect) from one particular superhero-themed production or another.

That maxim was recently put to the test when a photo of a surprisingly muscular-looking J.K. Simmons prompted speculation about whether his bulking up signals a new direction for his portrayal of Justice League supporting player Commissioner Jim Gordon. Now, Simmons himself has stepped up and explained that this photo isn’t, per se, for his turn in director Zack Snyder’s Justice League film.

Some fans and reporters had noted (half-jokingly, half-seriously) that it would make sense for the director of 300, Man of Steel, and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to demand that even Justice League’s civil servant contacts be “jacked”. However, Simmons – a popular character actor best known to superhero fans as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy –  being in extremely good shape isn’t something he’s engaging in for the Jim Gordon role – it’s the result of his persistent commitment to healthy living

JK Simmons in Whiplash1 Justice Leagues J.K. Simmons Explains Workout Photo

As Simmons explained to Business Insider, this begun during his starmaking stint as the villainous skinhead Vern on HBO’s groundbreaking prison drama Oz:

“I was not in good shape at all. I was overweight and soft and here I am playing the head of the Aryan Brotherhood in this maximum-security prison in the first-ever HBO original drama and I was watching the first season when it came out and I just thought, ‘Wow, I don’t believe this guy at all. I have to get my a– to the gym and be a believable hard-a–.'”

Despite that apparent “wake-up call,” the actor went on to tell Business Insider that he continued to struggle with weight fluctuation up through 2009, when he joined up with fitness trainer Dana Perry in order to create the lean but intimidating physique that aided in his brutal performance as a harsh drum teacher in Whiplash – a performance that netted him an Academy Award. However, Simmons has not sought to capitalize on his physical appearance in his subsequent roles. He stayed out of the flexing and gunfighting in Terminator Genisys despite working with the same Hollywood trainer as the film’s other stars.

Thus far, all early reports from Justice League (where Simmons will debut as James Gordon in what is expected to be a recurring role continuing into the solo Batman feature) indicate that Simmons’ version of the Gotham City Police Commissioner is faithful to the traditional comics incarnation. The large beard the actor sported in the workout photo (which was taken in April) was grown for the film I’m Not Here, written and directed by his wife Michelle Schumacher – and has since been shaved off.

NEXT: Ben Affleck Talks Batman Solo Movie

Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.

Source: Business Insider

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