J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon Will Get More To Do In Batgirl

Prior to the theatrical release of "Justice League" in 2017, a professional personal trainer named Aaron Williamson posted Instagram pictures of his client, actor J.K. Simmons, then 61, displaying impressive progress on a recently undertaken weightlifting journey. Simmons' musculature was impressive enough to be featured in men's health magazines, and the actor's fans — knowing he was set to appear in the upcoming superhero movie as the stalwart Batman ally Commissioner Gordon — began to speculate that Simmons might be fighting or performing stunts. 

When "Justice League" was finally released, audiences saw a disappointingly fight- and stunt-free Commissioner Gordon standing on a rooftop wearing a trench coat, impressive biceps covered, merely chatting up superheroes. As letdowns go, it was minor, but it was a letdown nevertheless. The same anticipation cycle repeated a few years later when Zack Snyder's four-hour cut of "Justice League" was released on HBOMax, and Simmons' role had not been significantly expanded.

However, in a recent interview with Discussing Film, Simmons revealed that, when he reprises his roles as Commissioner Gordon in the upcoming film "Batgirl," he will have a lot more to do.

We'll see much more

Although Simmons admits to feeling a little lost with the multiverse aspect of newer superhero movies, he assured his interviewer that we'll be seeing a lot more of Gordon, and talks about how happy he was to get the call to play the part:

"I'm still not sure I understand all the various multiverse aspects of, you know, DC or Marvel ... But yeah, I was completely surprised and very happy obviously. I had a lengthy phone call sort of having the story laid out for me before I even saw a script, and it was actually way back in the middle of the summer I think that they first came to me and approached me about doing it. I just finished my part, they have several more weeks of shooting to do."

"Justice League" featured Gordon in all-business mode. "Batgirl" will involve the character more intimately, as Simmons explains:

"It's much more than I got to do in my brief stint as Commissioner Gordon in Zack Snyder's film. And really, it was fun because it was a completely different side of Commissioner Gordon. All that we saw in the little snippets of Zack Snyder's "Justice League," in either the original or in Zack's brilliant, expanded cut, it was just Commissioner Gordon being business-like and needing Batman's help. In this film, I think I'm allowed to say since it does center on Batgirl, we see much more of Commissioner Gordon at home."

In the lore of DC comic books, Batgirl's secret identity is that of Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter. Barbara keeps her vigilante shenanigans secret from her father in most renditions of the character, but it has not yet been revealed what the nature of Barbara and Commissioner Gordon's relationship will be in "Batgirl." 

A couple of two-year-old Weimaraners

The filmmakers behind "Batgirl" are Belgian action directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who previously made "Bad Boys for Life" and are serving as executive producers on the upcoming Marvel project "Ms. Marvel." What are they like as directors? Simmons had a fun description: 

"Dude, those guys are crazy! I don't know how they do it, and they had been shooting for four weeks or so by the time I joined. I met them via Zoom, and I was under the L track outside of my boxing gym in Chicago when we first spoke. They just bring such an energy. I've already compared them to a couple of, like, two-year-old Weimaraners, who have been pent up in the back of a station wagon all day and somebody just let them loose. The energy and the passion that they bring for making movies was a really fun energy to be around and then the fact that they also really know what they're doing is a nice part of the overall experience."

"Batgirl" will be released on HBO Max later in 2022.