Spider-Man: Far From Home – J. K. Simmons Talks Jameson Compromises
It's hard to imagine anyone else anywhere playing media mogul J. Jonah Jameson in a live-action setting than J. K. Simmons. First playing the role in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy in 2002, the Oscar-winner was approached to reprise the role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe setting for Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). The actor spoke with Collider while promoting the release of Whiplash on 4K Blu-ray about what happened and what was decided before filming his epic cameo. According to Simmons, the call came out of nowhere and "a complete surprise." It also wasn't simply a one-off deal. "It ended up happening very quickly after we met," Simmons said. "Bing, bang, boom, I think a day or two later, I was doing this top-secret shoot in somebody's office on the soundstage."
One of the biggest changes to Jameson was he was no longer running The Daily Bugle as a regular print publication as depicted in every incarnation since the original Spider-Man comic. Instead, the Dailybugle.net is run as a conspiracy-oriented web-exclusive site with the mogul operating more as a TV media personality. Rather than keeping up pomp and circumstance of keeping Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as Spider-Man's personal photographer, he receives a video from Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) revealing the web crawler's true identity in Times Square in the end credits.
"The only thing we didn't a hundred percent see eye to eye on," Simmons said. "I think, was how much is this character going to be the character from, I think, the comic books and from the Sam Raimi original trilogy, and how much do we want to evolve it and to have it be more contemporary or more… you know. I was very attached to what I had done previously for a variety of reasons. So I guess the compromise ended up being no hair. [laughter] Which I think honestly, that decision might've just been them going, 'We don't have time to make a wig. We got to shoot him tomorrow in the office.' So, J. Jonah Jameson either lost his hair in the last few years, or he was wearing a hairpiece the whole time. I don't know, you pick." Approaching the third film, it's quite the bombshell considering Holland's Spider-Man dramatically from Raimi's trilogy with Tobey Maguire and Marc Webb's Amazing films with Andrew Garfield. Jameson wasn't re-introduced in the Webb films, but Simmon's cameo in Far From Home for Jon Watts opens up many possibilities, including new fanboy moments every time Jameson called Parker "a menace." How do you think Jameson factors in from here on out?