While starring in a superhero movie is bound to get you blockbuster success (as well as a hefty pay cheque), there is one pretty big difficulty that many actors have to overcome when they're starring in such a film – someone has likely played your part on screen before. This certainly applies to Oscar-winner JK Simmons as he gears up to portray DC Comics character Commissioner James Gordon on the big screen in Warner Bros. upcoming Batman v Superman follow-up, The Justice League Part One.
Gordon has been seen several times on the big screen before, played by the late Pat Hingle in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, as well as Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan's acclaimed The Dark Knight Trilogy. The roster doesn't stop there either as the character was also portrayed by Lyle Talbot, Neil Hamilton and now, most recently, Ben McKenzie in TV series Gotham.
In an interview with Collider, Simmons explained how he plans to go about creating his own version of the well-known character in the eagerly-anticipated Zack Snyder movie and what he's learned about Gordon so far in his research.
"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," he told the publication. "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.
"I take this from my days doing theatre. 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 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."
This isn't the first time Simmons has relied on the source material that inspired so many superhero movies either, having already starred as Peter Parker's boss J. Jonah Jameson in Marvel movie Spider-Man, in 2002.
"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," says Simmons.
"My understanding, from what I've learned so far about Commissioner Gordon, is that he's the older guy with the moustache 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."
The Justice League Part One is set for US cinematic release on 17 November 2017.
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