When J.K. Simmons plays an authoritative figure in a superhero movie, he doesn’t let anything take that role away. He’s not just J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, he reprised the role in the Marvel Studios Spider-Man films. He’s Commissioner Gordon in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and now, he’ll return to the role for HBO Max’s Batgirl. Give the guy a suit and a tie in a superhero movie and he’s likely to keep the role forever.
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life), Batgirl will star In the Heights’ Leslie Grace as the titular character, from a script by The Flash, Birds of Prey and Bumblebee writer, Christina Hodson. It’s one of several DC projects that will skip theaters and be created exclusively for HBO Max.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Simmons’ likely casting, saying he’s “in negotiations to reprise the role.” That just means a few details need to be finalized before it’s ready to go. On a larger scale, the casting does make you wonder if Batgirl is going to exist in the DC Universe that Zack Snyder created, or if Gordon will be sort of like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) or Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who reprised previous roles in a new film that doesn’t quite fit into continuity. In their case, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, which is out next week.
Simmons, who won an Oscar for his performance in 2014's Whiplash, is one of those actors that no matter what the canon, you just like to see him. He’s not only fantastic at bringing a character to life, he’s got a certain grounded, relatable presence that makes everything he touches that much more powerful. He simply becomes his characters. Which is why he reprised his Spider-Man role in two different universes and will do the same in, we think, two different Bat-Universes as well.
No release date is set for Batgirl but it’s reportedly eyeing a 2022 release.
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