Spider-Man's JK Simmons Explains How MCU Character Differs From Tobey Maguire Version

Tobey Maguire, JK Simmons, J Jonah Jameson
By Richard Nebens

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures are only a few short weeks from releasing Spider-Man: No Way Home, which promises to be an MCU game-changer. Featuring more than a handful of Tobey Maguire & Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man villains from past movies along with the original crew and Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange, the threequel has a change to make a major impact on everything the MCU is doing in the near future.

Of course, the headlining narrative is the one that includes the Multiversal mayhem teased in No Way Home's promotional run with Strange's botched spell bringing in iconic villains like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, among others. The movie's early stages will show how Peter Parker deals with another major event from the mid-credits scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home - his identity being revealed to the public.

While Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio brought this reveal into reality, helping him in that endeavor was JK Simmons' new take on The Daily Bugle's top dog, J. Jonah Jameson.

As fans are well aware, no Multiversal plot points were needed in Simmons' return to the role which he portrayed in all three movies from Tobey Maguire's original Spider-Man trilogy. Now, as he makes his first full appearance in the MCU, the Hollywood veteran explained the differences between his two portrayals of the same character.

JK Simmons on his MCU J. Jonah Jameson

J Jonah Jameson, Marvel Studios Versions
Marvel

Actor JK Simmons spoke with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Podcast to discuss his return to the role of J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

While the masterminds behind the MCU made this version of Jameson something fairly different from the take in the Sam Raimi movies, Simmons only sees it as "a slightly different character" from the one he first delivered nearly 20 years ago. Joking about the MCU's Jameson having less hair, he explained how it was a quick decision to bring him back for the MCU as Sony and Marvel Studios revealed how it would be different this time around:

"I think it’s a slightly different version, certainly from the creators of this current iteration of the story, it’s a very different character. To me, it’s a slightly different character. It’s the same blowhard, the same guy with less hair, and honestly, I kinda wish he still had the same hair, but I think the first time they asked me to do it, I assume it was kinda late notice decision on their parts to add Jameson because once they came and asked me to do it, it was like ‘Let’s sit down, let’s have a meeting with all the big wigs as Sony and talk about it,’ and, ‘Yes, ok,’ and, ‘Bang, Bang, Bang, the deal’s done and, you know, we’re shooting the day after tomorrow, and no we don’t want you to have the flat-top haircut,’ and I was like ‘wait, wait, wait, what?’ ‘Yeah, we don’t want the cigar and the mustache and the blah blah blah,’ and I was like, ‘That’s kinda the guy, you know?’"

Even with the changes from his original character, Simmons looked at the most important part about it being that Jameson is "still the same blowhard" with the "same damn mustache and cigar" that are iconic to the character:

"So it was a negotiation then at that point, and obviously the most important part is that he’s still the same blowhard, and he does have the same damn mustache, or close to it, and cigar at least."

After revealing that fans and people in the movie industry have suggested a Jameson solo movie, Simmons indicated that J. Jonah Jameson will be a "comic relief" in Spider-Man: No Way Home:

"And as is appropriate for that character, he’s just a little kind of comic relief thing that gets sprinkled lightly into the movie, and after the first two, especially with Sam, friends and people in the business were like ‘Oh, they should do a movie about J. Jonah Jameson,’ and I always said “no, no, no.’"

Same Simmons, New Jameson in No Way Home

Jameson may have always been a supporting role Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy, but Simmons' portrayal of The Daily Bugle editor-in-chief is often regarded as one of the most perfect matches between actor and role in the world of comic book movies. Although he was absent from both The Amazing Spider-Man movies, his return in Far From Home made for one of the most memorable MCU post-credits scenes ever delivered.

While his reprisal in No Way Home was first teased through dialogue in the film's first trailer, fans got their first official look at him in action during the second trailer as he took to the streets. A recent TV spot also showed more footage from that same scene as he encountered Rhys Ifans' Lizard for the first time before asking if he saw some kind of massive dinosaur.

Looking at Simmons' quotes, it's clear that he sees this new experience as a chance to play a very similar character to the one he played in the original Spider-Man trilogy with the exception of a full head of hair.

Coming in as reportedly a last-minute addition, Simmons' MCU version of Jameson should have the chance to be something reminiscent of what he delivered in the early to mid-2000s with a slight MCU twist. How he fits into No Way Home outside of revealing Peter Parker's identity is a mystery, but it appears that Simmons is looking forward to revisiting one of his most iconic roles.

Spider-Man: No Way Home will debut in theaters on December 17, 2021.

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