J.K. Simmons is ready to embrace the role of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon in Zack Snyder's 2017 "Justice League: Part One" film, but he says he won't look to past interpretations from other actors to prepare for the part, instead heading straight to the source.
Speaking with Collider, Simmons said that rather than looking to the work of Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" films, or that of Pat Hingle, who played Gordon in "Batman" movies from 1989-1997, he will research the role the same way he did his turn as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy -- by reading the comics.
"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," Simmons said, noting that while he might be influenced by what he remembers from those actors' takes, "I'm not planning on going back and watching any of the other films."
With a Ben Affleck-directed "Batman" film on the horizon, it is anticipated that "Justice League: Part One" will only mark the first of multiple DC Extended Universe appearances by Simmons in the role, leading the "Whiplash" Oscar-winner to lean into the source material. "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," he said.
The actor, who says he did not read many comics growing up, distinguishes Gordon from his last comic book role as Jameson, who discovered to be comic relief in the original Marvel tales. "Even in the comics, he was a blowhard who was all bark and very rarely bite," he said.
James Gordon plays a very different role in the life of the Caped Crusader than J.J.J. did in the Web-Slinger's, he found.
"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," Simmons said, noting a desire to inform himself of the "rich history of the Batman universe, going into it."
Simmons will make his debut as Commissioner Gordon in Zack Snyder's "Justice League: Part One" alongside Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, and more, which is due in theaters November 17, 2017.