While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have gotten off to a rockier start than Warner Bros. was expecting, the studio is still forging ahead with its ambitious plans for an inter-connected DC Extended Universe. That includes a fully-fledged Justice League movie, directed by Zack Snyder, and indeed filming for the superhero team-up pic officially got underway last week. However, beyond the titular team of Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and yes, Superman (Henry Cavill), we only have confirmation for one new cast member: Commissioner Gordon.
Indeed, the stalwart Batman character will make his DC Extended Universe debut in Justice League, played by none other than Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons, and when Collider’s own Christina Radish recently spoke to the actor in anticipation of the release of The Meddler in NY and L.A. on April 22nd, she touched on his preparation for playing such an iconic character in this new DC film, asking if he’s been reading comics to prepare for the role:
“Well, to read the comics, yes, absolutely. 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.”
In terms of avoiding revisiting previous portrayals of the character, Simmons likened it to doing 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. 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.”
But Simmons already has some serious history with comics adaptations, as his iconic portrayal of another mustachioed stalwart is still fresh in viewers’ minds: that of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. For Simmons, however, the similarities between Gordon and Jameson begin and end with the facial hair:
“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. 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.”
With Warner Bros. finally confirming that they’re developing a standalone Batman film with Ben Affleck, Simmons’ portrayal of Gordon in Justice League is no doubt the beginning of what could be another franchise-spanning portrayal, so the excitement to see what Simmons’ iteration of this character looks like is high. Oldman’s portrayal in The Dark Knight Trilogy is undoubtedly a tough act to follow, but if anyone can move out from under that kind of shadow, it’s Simmons.
We’ll find out in due time as Justice League is slated for release on November 17, 2017.