Landing the role of J. Jonah Jameson in 2002’s “Spider-Man” film was a career-changing experience for actor J.K. Simmons, but in an act of kismet, he found out he got the role from a chance meeting with a fan.
During an interview with The Ringer, Simmons told a great story about how he found out he scored the role that would make him an icon for comic book fans the world over. “I was at a voiceover audition at Grey Advertising,” Simmons began. “Doing that thing that journeyman actors do a lot, you know you’re doing your gig here, your gig there, you’re auditioning for this or that. I’m in the waiting room, you sign in, you wait your turn, you chat with the other guys, then somebody comes out to check your name off the list, ‘J.K. come on back to the recording booth’, right? And going back to the recording booth you kind of weave through the cubicles of Gray Advertising, one of the big advertising agencies in New York.”
On his way to the recording booth, however, he was stopped by a fan. “I’m walking following the person through the cubicles and this desk chair comes flying out in front of me, backwards, with some kid who was probably 28 and he goes, ‘Oh my God J.K., congratulations!’ and I go, ‘Thank you. For what?’ and he goes, ‘Are you kidding me? Spider-Man! J. Jonah Jameson, that’s so cool!’ and I was like, ‘I did not know that.’”
“I found out I got the part because of some kid who was so connected to the internet fan sites that they had that information on a Spider-Man website before my agent called me to tell me I got the job,” Simmons continued. “He called me like 3 hours later and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know.’”
While Simmons was picking up steam thanks to his role on HBO’s “Oz” at that point in his career, “Spider-Man” changed the game. Soon thereafter he had scene-stealing turns in various films, and of course won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his chilling turn in 2014’s “Whiplash.”
And now it’s come full circle, as Simmons – who played Jameson in director Sam Raimi’s sequels “Spider-Man 2” and “Spider-Man 3” – is playing the same character once again in the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movies. Following a cameo at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Simmons appears in this month’s highly anticipated sequel “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Watch Simmons relay the story in the video below.