Before being called in for a meeting about Justice League, J.K. Simmons didn’t know who Zack Snyder was. Having made a name for himself with action-heavy features like Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen, Snyder was given the keys to the DC Comics kingdom. He produced and directed Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, establishing the cinematic franchise unofficially known as the DC Extended Universe.
Simmons, of course, is no stranger to comic book movies, having appeared in all three installments of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy as J. Jonah Jameson – a role he won’t rule out returning to one day. However, Snyder’s work on the DC side of the comic book movie spectrum completely passed Simmons by.
In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Simmons has admitted that he was completely oblivious regarding Snyder’s existence before the director approached his agent. Here’s how the Oscar-winning actor summarized that first contact from Snyder:
“I don’t know anything about show business. My agent called and said, ‘Zack Snyder wants to meet with you,’ and I was like, ‘Awesome. Who’s that?’ And he was like, ‘He’s like one of the biggest directors.’”
Simmons’ lack of awareness continued into the meeting itself, where he didn’t know what he was meant to be talking to Snyder about. Here’s another excerpt from that interview:
“[W]e were several minutes into the meeting when I kind of saw this quizzical look and he goes, ‘You have no idea why you’re here, do you?’. He said, ‘Commissioner Gordon. I want you to play Commissioner Gordon.’”
Clearly, the fact that Simmons didn’t know who Zack Snyder was and didn’t know what their initial meeting was meant to be about didn’t hinder the chances of a deal being made. Snyder cast Simmons as the DCEU’s Commissioner Gordon regardless, with the news reaching the web in March 2017.
Some fans might worry that Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon, the iconic iteration of the character from The Dark Knight trilogy, is impossible to top. But Oldman himself has offered his support to Simmons, saying, “J.K. Simmons doesn’t need any advice from me. He’s a wonderful actor. I’m intrigued to see what he does with it.”
Indeed, it will be interesting to see what Simmons brings to this role in Justice League and beyond. After all, this is just the first chapter in Simmons’ DC story: he’s described his role in the superhero team-up movie as a “little introduction“, suggesting that a lot more could follow.
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