Though the DC Expanded Universe has gotten off to a rocky start thanks the reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros has no plans to slow down. The studio is beginning production on its mega superhero crossover Justice League Part One and preparing for the release of solo films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash. One of the many characters making their debut in Justice League is Commissioner Gordon, played by J.K. Simmons. With so many iconic heroes making their first jump to the big screen, Simmons has opened up about how he plans to prepare for the role of one of Batman’s greatest allies.
During an interview with Collider, J.K. Simmons addressed his feeling on the character of Commissioner Gordon and what source material he’s going to look at to learn about the character.
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.
You can’t go wrong with the comics, which is pretty much the undisputed source material for these sort of things. Looking at how other actors have played the character wouldn’t be very helpful. Each film uses their own version for the characters, so there are a lot of differences in how each Gordon behaves. The Commissioner Gordon in Batman Forever is vastly different than the one played by Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight, or the one on Gotham with Ben McKenzie. It makes more sense that J.K. Simmons develop his own view of the character that would fit in with the new Zack Snyder universe.
This a pretty level headed approach, and it's not the first time J.K. Simmons has played a famous comic book character; he portrayed J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raini Spider-Man trilogy. Simmons basically transformed into the Daily Bugle editor and became a fan favorite character of those films. He did such a good job that there are people who want him to play the character again for the new rebooted Marvel Sony produced Spider-Man films that will star Tom Holland. Let's hope he can bring that same level of skill to Gordon.
In terms of comics to draw inspiration from, you can never go wrong with Batman: Year One. It tells the story of both Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and Gordon’s first year in Gotham City and dealing with a corrupt police force. Conversely, there’s The Dark Knight Rises – which is the main inspiration for Ben Affleck’s Batman- and it’s older, more grizzled take on the Commissioner.
You’ll be able to see J.K. Simmons as Commisioner Gordon in Justice League Part One, which is scheduled to hit theaters November 17, 2017.