Now that Batman v Superman has opened up the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. is pushing forward with the next major movie on its comic book slate - Justice League - Part One. The flick was teased at the end of Dawn of Justice, with Ben Affleck's Batman making reference to assembling a team of metahumans including the likes of The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. As well as those gifted few, another legendary character from the comics is also making the leap from page to screen in the shape of Commissioner James Gordon.
Gordon was previously played on the big screen by Gary Oldman and Pat Hingle, and in TV's Gotham by Ben McKenzie. For Zack Snyder's rebooted universe J.K. Simmons will tackle the part, and in a new interview with Collider the Oscar-winner discusses his approach to the role. Fans of the comic books will be pleased to know he's not planning to cut any corners on research.
"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."
"I’m sure there will be differences and similarities with what Gary Oldman or Pat Hingle have done before," he adds, "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 played an iconic comic book figure. In Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy he made a lasting impression as the formidable J. Jonah Jameson, but he's not worried about people drawing comparisons between the two. "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.”
Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard and JK Simmons, Justice League: Part 1 is currently scheduled for a November 17, 2017 release.