Actor J.K. Simmons begins his work as Commissioner James Gordon later this year in the filming of Justice League, Part One, and for the role the veteran actor is going back to the source material - the comic books - and trying to avoid what other actors have done before him in the role.
"Well, to read the comics, yes, absolutely," Simmons told Collider. "I’m still a couple of months out from doing that and I have two other films before then, so I haven’t gotten started on that. Obviously, a lot of really wonderful actors have played that character previously, and most of them I saw at the time the movies came out, never imagining that I would be doing the same thing. So, I can’t say that I don’t have some impression of that character in my head that’s based on what I saw, but I’m not planning on going back and watching any of the other films. I’m just planning on learning as much as I can about him through the comics and getting my feet wet in the first movie, and then hopefully continuing on from there.”
Simmons, who played J. Jonah Jameson in director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, said that this approach comes from his time working in theater.
“I take this from my days doing theater. If I was doing a musical, I would never listen to the cast album because I wanted to do my version of something," the actor said. "I’m sure there will be differences and similarities with what Gary Oldman or Pat Hingle have done before, but I’m just going to try to do my take on it and be as informed as I can about the rich history of the Batman universe, going into it.”
Simmons said that although J. Jonah Jameson and Jim Gordon share one commonality - a mustache - that the differences are readily apparent.
“There are easy comparisons to make. I wasn’t a big comic book reading kid, so I did a fair amount of reading when I was playing Jameson, who was very much the comic relief in those movies. Even in the comics, he was a blowhard who was all bark and very rarely bite," said Simmons. "My understanding, from what I’ve learned so far about Commissioner Gordon, is that he’s the older guy with the mustache who relates with our hero in a certain way. Other than that, it’s a vastly different character and much more of a stronger, impactful character in the DC universe.”
Justice League, Part One is scheduled to debut in theaters November 17, 2017.