The Crazy Way J.K. Simmons Found Out He Was Joining The Spider-Man Franchise

The Crazy Way J.K. Simmons Found Out He Was Joining The Spider-Man Franchise
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

In an era where most wrote off comic book movies as hokey novelties, director Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” from 2002 truly broke the mold. Though it leaned into the colorful campiness of the source material, it managed to captivate mainstream audiences in ways that previous Marvel-based offerings simply couldn’t. Not to mention, it boasted some unforgettable, career-defining performances from Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Willem Dafoe as Peter Parker, Mary Jane “MJ” Watson, and Norman Osborn — aka the Green Goblin –, respectively. However, none were as spot on to the pages of Marvel Comics as J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson.

JJJ debuted in live-action as a supporting player in “Spider-Man,” and given Simmons’ scene-stealing portrayal of the Daily Bugle figurehead, it should come as no surprise that he stuck around for both “Spider-Man 2” and “Spider-Man 3.” Those three films combined packed in quite a few iconic Jameson one-liners and motor-mouthed monologues, and yet fans wanted more. Thankfully, they got their wish roughly 12 years after “Spider-Man 3” hit theaters when Simmons returned to a rebooted version of the role in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” making him a fully-fledged member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As the long-anticipated, multiverse-crumbling “Spider-Man: No Way Home” approaches, interest has renewed in Raimi’s classic Spidey trilogy. As a result, the bizarre story of how J.K. Simmons learned of his J. Jonah Jameson casting for the 2002 feature has come to light.

A fan broke the news to him

The Crazy Way J.K. Simmons Found Out He Was Joining The Spider-Man Franchise
Sony Pictures

A mere few weeks ahead of his next appearance as the MCU’s J. Jonah Jameson in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” J.K. Simmons recently sat down for an episode of “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” (via The Ringer on Twitter). During the chat, the topic of “Spider-Man” naturally arose, allowing Simmons the chance to tell the tale of how he learned he’d be the one at the Daily Bugle desk demanding photos of the web-slinger. As the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” actor recalls, it all started when he went in for a voice-over audition at Grey Advertising in New York.

Simmons was sitting in the waiting room and chatting with those around him when he got the call to head to the recording booth. Doing so took him through a maze of cubicles where he encountered a kid who sent himself careening in his desk chair through the aisle to talk to Simmons about his latest big-screen gig. “He goes, ‘Oh my God! J.K., congratulations!’ and I go, ‘Thank you! For what?’ and he goes, ‘Are you kidding me? Spider-Man! I can’t believe it. J. Jonah Jameson! That’s so cool!’ And I was like, ‘I did not know that.'”

When it comes to unorthodox casting announcements, this is almost certainly up there with the best of them. Given how well J.K. Simmons fit into the J. Jonah Jameson role and continues to all these years later, it’s fair to say that fan had every reason to be excited.

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