J.K. Simmons absolutely annihilated his role as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man trilogy. With a hairpiece, grit, and an unquenching thirst for pictures of Spider-Man, Simmons defined the role without question. And in a phone interview for the upcoming 4K Blu-ray of Whiplash, Simmons told me that “those movies with Sam Raimi were great highlights of my life and career. And yeah, I’d always hoped that there would be another opportunity.” Luckily for him, and us, that opportunity happened again in the form of a post-credits cameo in Spider-Man: Far from Home — Simmons’ and Jameson’s official entry into the MCU.
The producers of Far from Home gave Simmons’ agent “a complete surprise phone call” regarding revisiting Jameson (not just for Far from Home, but perhaps for future MCU installments), and “it ended up happening very quickly after we met. Bing, bang, boom, I think a day or two later I was doing this top secret shoot in somebody’s office on the soundstage.” The result was Simmons-as-Jameson-as-looney-conspiracy-theorist-YouTuber, a refreshingly modern take on the character that still gave us that classic Simmons-as-Jameson taste we needed.
Or… was it too modern? Simmons explained some of the creative discussions and disagreements he had with the team about Jameson to me:
“The only thing we didn’t a hundred percent see eye to eye on, I think, was how much is this character going to be the character from, I think, the comic books and from the Sam Raimi original trilogy, and how much do we want to evolve it and to have it be more contemporary or more… you know. I was very attached to what I had done previously for a variety of reasons. So I guess the compromise ended up being no hair. [laughter] Which I think honestly, that decision might’ve just been them going, ‘We don’t have time to make a wig. We got to shoot him tomorrow in the office.’ So, J. Jonah Jameson either lost his hair in the last few years, or he was wearing a hairpiece the whole time. I don’t know, you pick.”
While I ultimately love the new version of Jameson, and think this compromise was one worth making, I super-love Simmons making sure his character stays true to the accuracy of the comics. Be sure to look out for more highlights from my full Simmons interview soon.
For more on Spider-Man: Far from Home, here’s a dope Mondo poster.