J.K. Simmons on ‘The Late Bloomer’ and Its Crazy, True Story

     October 6, 2016

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From director Kevin Pollak and based on the book The Late Bloomer: A Memoir of My Body by Ken Baker, The Late Bloomer follows successful sex therapist Dr. Pete Newmans (Johnny Simmons), whose practice is devoted to helping people re-channel their sexual impulses. After learning that a pituitary tumor has delayed his own onset of puberty for the last 15 years, 30-year-old Pete undergoes all of the mood swings, voice changes, acne and uncontrollable erections that come along with being a horny teenager, all while awkwardly pursuing a romantic relationship with the girl of his dreams (Brittany Snow).

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons (who plays James, a father who’s never quite understood why he can’t connect with his son, prior to learning what’s really going on with him) talked about how he got involved with The Late Bloomer, the craziness of this true story, and the universal moments of feeling awkward while growing up. He also talked about keeping grounded and grateful about all of the success he’s currently experiencing, and how excited he is to see where things go with Jim Gordon, in the upcoming Batman film that will be directed by Ben Affleck.

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Image via Momentum Pictures

Collider: I saw you in both The Late Bloomer and The Accountant this week, and while both are very different movies, I enjoyed you in both, tremendously.

J.K. SIMMONS: Obviously, they’re apples and oranges, but I really loved The Accountant. That’s a really cool movie.

How did The Late Bloomer come about? Are you friends with Kevin Pollak (who wrote and directed the film) and did he reach out to you?

SIMMONS: I had actually seen this script a couple of years earlier. It had been bouncing around for awhile, in different forms, and I was interested in it, for a lot of reasons, and then I lost track of it. And then, I got a call from Kevin one day saying, “I’m doing this movie and I’d love for you to play the dad.” He and I have known each other for a long time, mostly playing poker and being around. We haven’t really had the opportunity to work together much, although he did a little thing in my wife’s first film. But once Kevin asked me to take a look at it and said he was putting it together, it was easy to make the commitment. The dad part is a really nice part, but it’s also a part that I knew I could knock out in three or four days, or whatever it was that I ended up working on the movie. Scheduling it in my busy life was not a problem. And they were shooting my scenes in Los Angeles, which was even nicer. So, it was an easy thing to say yes to. And then, as it was coming together and it ended up being Maria Bello, Johnny Simmons, Brittany Snow and all of these great people, it really came together nicely.

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