Justice League: Part One began filming this past week, and so far all we know of the cast involved is the six confirmed League members — Bats, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman. That was all we knew until it was revealed that Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons had been cast as the beloved Commissioner Gordon.
Simmons has big shoes to fill as he takes on the character who is usually one of Batman’s greatest allies. Accordingly, the actor isn’t taking the role lightly. When speaking to Collider, he was asked if he’d been prepping for the part by reading comics. He noted that while he has not had the time to just yet, it’s something he definitely plans on diving into.
“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.”
Simmons also recognizes the expectations factored into the role and is looking to ensure he does not tread the same ground as the actors before him. He, like fellow DCEU actor Jared Leto, compares it to 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.”
Fans seem enthusiastic about the actor’s being cast as the Commissioner and with good reason — he’s already donned the gray mustache of another comic book character. But Simmons says the similarities between his J. Jonah Jameson character of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy and James Gordon begins and ends with the mustache.
“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.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the relationship between Batman and Jim pans out in this iteration of their alliance. The Bat depicted in Batman v Superman was ruthless and largely independent in how he chose to carry out his brand of justice; something Gordon typically doesn’t jive with. But perhaps, in recruiting meta-humans for the League, he’ll decide to turn to his old friend Jim Gordon for guidance and maybe even help.
We won’t get to see Simmons’ portrayal of the Commissioner until November 17, 2017. Fortunately, that’s not the only Gordon/Batman narrative we have to look forward to, since Batman: The Killing Joke releases on Blu-ray/DVD later this year.
Top Image via The Hollywood Reporter