Ben McKenzie (Fox’s Gotham), Gary Oldman (the Dark Knight trilogy), Pat Hingle (Tim Burton’s Batman), and Neil Hamilton (the 1960s Batman series) are some of the actors who have portrayed Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon. However, J.K. Simmons won’t be taking many notes from them.
“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,” the actor told Collider during an interview. “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.”
Simmons continued, “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.” Likening the process to his days in theater, he added, “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.”
The Whiplash Oscar winner will debut as Gordon in Justice League: Part One, which has already begun principal photography under the direction of Zack Snyder. Henry Cavill (Superman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) have all teased their preparations, but Simmons says he has “a couple of months” and “two other films” before heading to set.
The actor previously entered the superhero movie landscape as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, but Simmons won’t bring the same comedic relief to Justice League.
“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,” he said. “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 for release on Nov. 17, 2017.