Adding an Academy Award winner to a superhero film probably can’t hurt its chances of quality. Perhaps that applies even more when the actor in question is J.K. Simmons (who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2015 for his role in Whiplash).
According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Rebecca Ford, Simmons is joining the cast of upcoming DC Comics superhero blockbuster Justice League. And in a bit of surprising news, Simmons will be playing Commissioner Gordon. Considering Gotham City’s top cop isn’t in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s somewhat curious that a prominent character from the Batman mythology will be part of a much larger superheroic cast.
Comic book and movie fanboys had been hoping that Simmons might reprise his role as Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson in the new set of Spider-Man films. (Curiously, the character was nowhere to be seen in the last two movies directed by Marc Webb.) But that’s not going to happen now that Simmons is joining the DC Extended Universe, which is sort of a shame as this montage of clips from Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies demonstrates.
Most recently, Commissioner Gordon has been played by Ben McKenzie on the Fox TV show Gotham and Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films.
Interestingly, the character was rumored to be dead in the Batman v Superman storyline that follows an older, grimmer Caped Crusader played by Ben Affleck. But that’s obviously not the case, or is no longer the case. No word on how big the role will be, but Simmons presumably wouldn’t sign on for a bit part. Of course, it’s possible that Simmons’ appearance in Justice League will be relatively brief, but perhaps lay the groundwork for Commissioner Gordon having a greater role in the rumored upcoming Batman solo film to be co-written and directed by Affleck.
Filming for Justice League was officially announced two weeks ago, with Zack Snyder directing and the shoot beginning in April. (That shot down rumors that Warner Brothers was worried about Batman v Superman‘s reception and strongly considering Affleck’s Batman film to take Justice League‘s place on the studio’s release schedule.) In addition to Simmons and Affleck, the cast will feature Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). This movie will need a killer bad guy.
Justice League is scheduled for a Nov. 17, 2017 release, while the sequel, Justice League: Part Two, is slated to hit theaters on June 14, 2019. Affleck’s Batman film has yet to be announced, as he’s currently working on Live By Night. And all of the superheroes mentioned above have solo films in development with releases targeted over the next three years.