Monday, March 7, 2016

JUSTICE LEAGUE Casts J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon

Gotham City has another protector.

The Hollywood Reporter has details that the upcoming Zack Snyder film adaptation of DC Comics' Justice League has cast J.K. Simmons as James Gordon, the police commissioner of Gotham City and Batman's closest ally against crime.

Justice League: Part One, which begins shooting in mid-April, features Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) teaming up to combat a threat beyond each member's capabilities.  Chris Terrio wrote the screenplay for Justice League, which will be released in two parts by Warner Bros.  The film will be produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder.

Simmons, 61, is best known as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man film trilogy directed by Sam Raimi.  He's also known as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order, Vernon Schillinger on the HBO series Oz, and has appeared in the films Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3, Terminator: Genisys, Megamind, Juno, Hidalgo, and The Cider House Rules.  

Created in 1939 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Commissioner Gordon first appeared in Detective Comics (vol.1) #27, which also featured the first appearance of Batman. Gordon was introduced as the Police Commissioner of Gotham City, who shares Batman's deep commitment to ridding the city of crime.  Although often skeptical of Batman's vigilante methods, Gordon believes that Gotham needs him.

In the 1987 story "Batman: Year One," writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzuccheli revealed that Gordon transferred back to Gotham City after spending more than fifteen years in Chicago.  A man of integrity, Gordon discovered that Batman was his only ally against the mob-controlled administration.  He was a special forces veteran capable in hand-to-hand combat and retaliated against an intimidation attempt by corrupt fellow officers with equal violence.  Gordon ended up having an extramarital affair with a fellow detective, Sarah Essen, but he broke off their affair after being blackmailed by the corrupt Police Commissioner, Gillian B. Loeb.  Mob boss Carmine Falcone sent his nephew, Johnny Viti, to abduct Gordon's family.  Batman saved them, however, and helped Gordon expose Loeb's corruption.  After Loeb resigned, Gordon was promoted to Captain.

As the years passed, Gordon quickly rose to the rank of Commissioner after he and Batman weeded out corruption within the department.  After the death of his brother and sister-in-law, he adopted his niece, Barbara.  Gordon divorced his wife Barbara, who returned to Chicago with their son James, while he retained custody of Barbara, who eventually became Batgirl.  Gordon soon deduced his daughter was Batgirl, but would not confront her about it again, until years later.

Simmons will be the fifth actor to portray James Gordon in live action, after Neil Hamilton in the '60s television series Batman, Pat Hingle in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films, Gary Oldman in the most recent Christopher Nolan trilogy, and Ben McKenzie on the Fox series Gotham.

Justice League: Part One is slated for release on November 17, 2017, while Part Two will arrive in theaters on June 14, 2019.

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