J.K. Simmons says he learned he got the role of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) from a chance encounter with an internet-savvy fan.
J.K. Simmons learned he landed the role of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy from a chance encounter with a fan. Simmons first appeared as The Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief in 2002, opposite Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. From Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin and Kristen Dunst as Mary Jane Watson to Maguire and Simmons, the casting throughout Raimi’s initial film was pitch-perfect. However, Simmons’ portrayal of the charismatic and abrasive publisher with an affinity for labeling Spider-Man a “menace” set a gold standard for bringing comic book characters to life.
While Simmons had already been recognized for his small-screen work in shows like HBO’s Oz, Spider-Man changed the trajectory of his career. His work as Jameson established himself as a dominant and formidable character actor—something that can be seen in Whiplash (2015), for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Even after Spider-Man 3 (2007), Simmons has remained a name in the genre; voicing the villainous Omni-Man in Amazon’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible and starring as the DCEU’s Commissioner Gordon in Zach Snyder’s Justice League and the upcoming Batgirl on HBO Max.
During a recent interview with The Ringer, Simmons revealed how he first learned he had won the role of Spider-Man’s J. Jonah Jameson. While at a voiceover audition, Simmons was stopped by a fan working at Gray Advertising, an agency in New York. Read his story below:
“I’m walking following the person through the cubicles and this desk chair comes flying out in front of me, backwards, with some kid who was probably 28 and he goes, ‘Oh my God J.K., congratulations!’ and I go, ‘Thank you. For what?’ and he goes, ‘Are you kidding me? Spider-Man! J. Jonah Jameson, that’s so cool!’ and I was like, ‘I did not know that…I found out I got the part because of some kid who was so connected to the internet fan sites that they had that information on a Spider-Man website before my agent called me to tell me I got the job,” said Simmons. “He called me like 3 hours later and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know.’”
Back in the early ’00s, internet leaks and rumors weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today. Nowadays, despite the studios’ efforts to keep anything and everything under wraps, fans often know about upcoming projects and casting decisions before the actors—who find out themselves, not from their agents, but when they log into their social media accounts or simply go outside. This is exactly how Tom Holland found out he’d be playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Three years after Holland made his debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Simmons showed up to utter a familiar and a very nostalgic “menace” in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). In that fateful mid-credits scene, Jameson shared Mysterio’s video revealing Spider-Man’s identity and implicating him as a murderer—which will ultimately drive Peter and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to accidentally crack open the multiverse.
Spider-Man: No Way Home’s trailers have confirmed that Simmons will appear as the MCU’s variant version of Jameson. Although he lacks the flat top haircut from Raimi’s universe, he’s still the cantankerous blowhard fans have come to know and love. And, if he doesn’t feel at home in the MCU, he’ll be joined by Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Sandman, and, presumably, Maguire’s Spider-Man from the Raimi universe. Also appearing in the film will be Jamie Foxx’s Electro, Lizard, and, again, presumably, Andrew Garfield’s webslinger from Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films. Presale tickets for No Way Home are already the highest since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, thanks in large part to a slew of familiar faces led by Jameson’s big mouth.
Source: The Ringer
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