J.K. Simmons is one of the hardest working actors today with dozens of roles to his name. However, his time spent playing J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies will always hold a special place in his heart. A prolific actor who’s been featured in a variety of movies and TV shows over the past few decades, Simmons can be recognized by fans from any number of roles. Even so, J. Jonah Jameson just might be the actor’s most well-known character of all.
Between 2002 and 2007, Simmons played Peter Parker’s boss at The Daily Bugle in all three of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. He reprised the role, albeit as the MCU’s alternate version of J. Jonah Jameson, for Spider-Man: Far From Home along with its upcoming sequel Spider-Man: No Way Home. Even so, it was playing J.J.J. in Sam Raimi’s Spidey movies that stand out as career highlights for Simmons, as the actor recently told Den of Geek:
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“Those movies with Sam will always be big highlights of my career and my life. Sam is one of my favorite directors and human beings.”
Because Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies were such big hits at the box office, the filmmaker was originally on board to produce Spider-Man 4. The sequel would have likely brought back Simmons as J.J.J. once again, though it wasn’t meant to be. Still, because he never got the role out of his mind, Simmons eagerly jumped at the chance to reprise the role for the MCU when he got the offer. From the Den of Geek interview:
“To have the opportunity to kind of do a reboot of the character, I was eager to hang on to the things I really loved about it and totally open to letting go of some of that, and realizing we are in a more updated version of that universe. Hopefully, we found the sweet spot there.”
You can’t fault Marvel Studios for sticking with Simmons when it came to casting the Daily Bugle editor-in-chief for the MCU. Sony didn’t even try recasting him for The Amazing Spider-Man, and the character didn’t appear at all in Andrew Garfield’s movies. When Tom Holland took over the role of Peter Parker for the MCU’s reboot of the web slinger, it was still obvious that there’s no one better for the role than Simmons. It was fortunate for everyone involved that he was just as interested in returning to the part.
Simmons jokes that all that’s really changed with how he portrays J.J.J. is “mostly just the hair, or the lack thereof.” Indeed, the Raimi version of J. Jonah Jameson sported the traditional flat top seen in the original comics, while the MCU’s J.J.J. retains Simmons’ real-life bald head. In any case, the actor appreciates how J.J.J. is more or less the same “blowhard” he always has been.
“For a lot of characters, that evolution is a really important aspect. I like the lack of evolution of that character. There are ways that he’s evolved, but he’s the same blowhard… and that’s what I enjoy doing.”
Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to be released on Dec. 17, 2021. Meanwhile, Simmons can next be seen in The Tomorrow War which will premiere on July, 2 on Amazon Prime Video. This news comes to us from Den of Geek.