J.K. Simmons recalls ‘nerve-wracking’ audition for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man

J.K. Simmons has opened up about his “nerve-wracking” audition for the part of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.The 65-year-old confessed he was panic-stricken when he had to take part in an “old-school, classic camera test” in front of the f…

J.K. Simmons has opened up about his “nerve-wracking” audition for the part of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

The 65-year-old confessed he was panic-stricken when he had to take part in an “old-school, classic camera test” in front of the filmmaker and several sceptical Sony executives to try and land the role of the bad-tempered Daily Bugle editor.

“The producers and the people at Sony, they needed to be convinced, because obviously, there were a lot of much more high-profile actors that they had in mind that would help with the box office,” Simmons told PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing. “It was very nerve-wracking.”

Despite previously working with Raimi on movies including For The Love of the Game, the Oscar-winning actor was determined to win over the director and the movie execs to snare the part by giving them an audition to remember.

“It included a scene where the Green Goblin breaks through the windows and picks me up by the throat, lifts me up in the air, and is strangling me,” Simmons recalled. “I’m holding the script pages, reading the scene on the audition, but then at the same time, trying to…. (makes a strangling noise), pretending I’m being lifted by the neck and choked.”

The Whiplash actor was eventually hired and played the newspaper editor in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, which starred Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging superhero.

And Simmons has become so beloved as J. Jonah Jameson that director Jon Watts didn’t consider hiring another actor to play the character for last year’s flick Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which the editor has small role at the end of the movie.

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J.K. Simmons confirms he’s signed on for two more Spider-Man sequels

J.K. Simmons has confirmed he has signed on to star in two more Spider-Man sequels.The 65-year-old made his debut as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man back in 2002, and reprised his character for a post-credits scene in last…

J.K. Simmons has confirmed he has signed on to star in two more Spider-Man sequels.

The 65-year-old made his debut as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man back in 2002, and reprised his character for a post-credits scene in last year’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which starred Tom Holland as the latest incarnation of the web-slinging superhero.

And Simmons has now revealed he signed on for at least two more sequels when he agreed to bring back the outspoken editor-in-chief on the big screen.

“I don’t know if I would use the word ‘expect’,” he said on PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing. “When we signed on for the first movie we signed a contract to do two sequels as well.

“That’s always a one-sided, well not always, but in my case, a one-sided contract where you’re committed to do it but they’re not necessarily committed to use your character in the ensuing movies.”

He also praised Raimi, who helmed the original Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, and Jon Watts, who directed Far From Home, for working together to unite the different franchises.

“It was great to have the opportunity as these things evolve to be one of the holdovers from the previous version,” Simmons added.

Elsewhere in the interview, the Oscar-winning actor joked that wants to play the father of every famous Chris in Hollywood, following his recent work with Chris Evans on the Apple+ TV series, Defending Jacob, and Chris Pratt on The Tomorrow War.

“My career plan now is to play the father of every handsome, blue-eyed movie star stud named Chris,” he joked. “So if you’re casting out there I’m looking – Chris Pine, I’m available, and Chris Hemsworth – in either order, I mean we don’t have to go alphabetical.”

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Sam Raimi confirms involvement with Doctor Strange sequel

Sam Raimi has confirmed his involvement in the Doctor Strange sequel.It was reported in February that the Evil Dead filmmaker would be helming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his role as the power…

Sam Raimi has confirmed his involvement in the Doctor Strange sequel.

It was reported in February that the Evil Dead filmmaker would be helming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his role as the powerful sorcerer.

Raimi, who previously directed the Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, recently spoke about his involvement with the Marvel gig, but stopped short of confirming he’ll direct.

“I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters. He was so original,” he quipped during a press junket to promote his upcoming Quibi series, 50 States of Fright, according to GamesRadar+.

He also talked about a scene in Spider-Man 2, in which Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, played by J.K. Simmons, discusses what nickname he should give Doctor Octavius, who is terrorising New York City. When the name Doctor Strange is suggested, Jameson notes that it’s perfect, but “is already taken”.

“When we had that moment in Spider-Man 2 I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project,” Raimi explained.

Raimi is believed to be replacing Scott Derrickson, who stepped down from the project due to creative differences with Marvel, although he’s still attached to serve as an executive producer. Derrickson has publicly declared his support for Raimi on Twitter.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to be released in November 2021.

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Andy Samberg increased price of Palm Springs film by 69 cents as a joke

Andy Samberg and his producer asked studio executives to up the offer for their movie Palm Springs by 69 cents because they thought it would be funny. Following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month, the comedy, which stars Sam…

Andy Samberg and his producer asked studio executives to up the offer for their movie Palm Springs by 69 cents because they thought it would be funny.

Following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month, the comedy, which stars Samberg and Cristin Milioti, was bought by bosses at Neon and Hulu for a record-breaking $17,500,000.69 (£13.4 million), making it the biggest sale ever at Sundance, overtaking 2016’s The Birth of a Nation by just 69 cents.

But during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Samberg, who also served as a producer, revealed that the offer originally matched that of The Birth of a Nation so he and his fellow producer and The Lonely Island collaborator, Akiva Schaffer, decided to negotiate for 69 cents more because they thought it would be funny to pick a number associated with a sexual position.

“When you get offers on a movie, you stay up until five in the morning negotiating and stuff,” Samberg explained of the process. “It was Neon and Hulu who are the ones that ended up buying it, and they came in with an offer that was very high. It was an amount that would match the highest sale ever at Sundance.

“I was like, ‘Well, we should maybe ask to throw on a dollar more and then make it the highest sale ever’. And Akiva was like, ‘No, no, no. We should ask for 69 cents more. I was like, ‘Yes, that’s right’… Life is a joke.”

Palm Springs follows misfit Nyles, played by Samberg, who teams up with Milioti’s reluctant maid of honour Sarah, at a wedding. It was directed by Max Barbakow from a script by Andy Siara and also stars Camila Mendes, J.K. Simmons, and Tyler Hoechlin.

Neon will distribute the existential comedy, while Hulu will eventually add the film to its popular streaming service. Release dates have not yet been announced.

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Andy Samberg’s Palm Springs sets record at Sundance Film Festival

Andy Samberg’s movie Palm Springs has set a Sundance Film Festival record.According to editors at Deadline, the comedy, directed by Max Barbakow and starring Samberg and Cristin Milioti, was purchased by bosses at Hulu and independent distributor Neon …

Andy Samberg’s movie Palm Springs has set a Sundance Film Festival record.

According to editors at Deadline, the comedy, directed by Max Barbakow and starring Samberg and Cristin Milioti, was purchased by bosses at Hulu and independent distributor Neon for $17,500,000.69 (£13.4 million) on Monday.

This means Palm Springs, which also stars J.K. Simmons, Meredith Hagner, and Camila Mendes, has beaten the previous record holder, The Birth of a Nation, by just 69 cents.

Nate Parker’s historical drama about slave preacher Nat Turner was acquired by executives at Fox Searchlight Pictures for $17,500,000 at the film festival back in 2016.

According to a joint statement, Neon will distribute the existential comedy, while Hulu will eventually add the film to its popular streaming service.

It was originally rumoured that Palm Springs was purchased for $15 million (£11.5 million), but the movie, which premiered at Sundance on Sunday, managed to add just over $2 million to its price tag.

The film was produced by Samberg’s The Lonely Island production company Party Over Here, and the producers expressed their disbelief at the record-breaking sale in a message shortly after news broke.

“We spent over $85 million of our own money on this movie, WE ARE TAKING A BATH on this deal,” they joked. “We hope NEON and Hulu are happy but we definitely have a lot of explaining to do to our families.”

Palm Springs follows misfit Nyles, played by Samberg, who teams up with Milioti’s reluctant maid of honour Sarah, at a wedding. The duo proceeds to wreak havoc on the romantic celebration.

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Chris Pratt had to rename new action movie after issues with original title

Chris Pratt had to rename his new action movie after its original title proved to be “problematic”.Back in August, news broke that the 40-year-old would be starring in – and executive producing – futuristic thriller Ghost Draft, alongside Oscar winner …

Chris Pratt had to rename his new action movie after its original title proved to be “problematic”.

Back in August, news broke that the 40-year-old would be starring in – and executive producing – futuristic thriller Ghost Draft, alongside Oscar winner J.K. Simmons and GLOW actress Betty Gilpin. But over the weekend, Pratt took to Instagram to share some updates on the movie’s progress and announced that the title of the flick had been changed.

“This is my first time executive producing on a movie! And I can finally post about it!!! The title ‘Ghostdraft’ turned out to be problematic for various reasons so we started looking at other options,” he wrote alongside a black-and-white snap from the set of the movie.

Pratt went on to share the joke titles he and his team considered, including “Saving Private Ryaalien”, “WWZ2 but with As not Zs”, “Jurassic Draft” and “Miller Genuine Draft”.

However, he then revealed the new title would be The Tomorrow War.

“THE TOMORROW WAR. THE TOMORROW WAR!!!! And that’s when it hit me… We’re calling it #TheTomorrowWar,” the actor excitedly shared, before teasing his 27 million followers with more updates from the set of his new film.

Director Chris McKay will be helming the movie, which is set in a future where the human race is waging a war against aliens.

Back in August, Pratt revealed he was already getting into shape for the then-titled Ghost Draft and had already lost 12 pounds (five kilograms).

“Here’s what I did: Water. If you’re like me and wondering how you can shed some weight, water. Start there. You don’t have to work out super hard: water, water, water. Pee three times before 10am, for real, try it,” he joked on his Instagram Stories.

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J.K. Simmons recruited his kids for new low-budget movie

J.K. Simmons and his filmmaker wife turned their new movie into a real family affair by including their kids, Olivia and Joe. The Whiplash star and Michelle Schumacher wanted to keep the budget on I’m Not Here as low as possible, so they called in fav…

J.K. Simmons and his filmmaker wife turned their new movie into a real family affair by including their kids, Olivia and Joe.

The Whiplash star and Michelle Schumacher wanted to keep the budget on I’m Not Here as low as possible, so they called in favours from their children.

Michelle used music that Joe, a college student, created in junior high school and aspiring actress Olivia was handed a role as an extra.

Oscar winner J.K. tells WENN, “The whole end credits is our son’s music. His artist’s name is GrandPseudonym. He also contributed the love theme; the beautiful piano music during the love scene between Sebastian (Stan) and Maika (Monroe). He did most of the sound design of the movie.

“Also our daughter Olivia, who wants to be an actor, is a background actor in a club scene.”

And writer/director Schumacher struck gold while she was casting the movie, picking up young Iain Armitage just before he landed the lead role in hit Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon.

“I interviewed Iain pre-Young Sheldon and he shot this before that show,” she explains. “He is the most amazing kid. He looks like a picture of J.K. when J.K. was that age. He was doing Big Little Lies for a day, so we had to wait for him but what an actor.”

She also picked up young Modern Family star Jeremy Maguire, who plays Stan’s son Sebastian in the film.

“He is going to be a director, so get to know him,” she smiles. “He knew everyone’s lines and if someone forgot their lines he would tell them after I said ‘cut’ what lines they blew! He was four years old when we shot that.”

Simmons and his wife shot the film, which looks back at the life of a washed-up old man, in 20 days.

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J. K. Simmons: ‘I’m not a fan of biopics’

J. K. Simmons tends to avoid biopics when it comes to choosing film roles.The Oscar-winning actor has starred in everything from indie smash hits Juno and Whiplash, to blockbusters like Justice League and Spider-Man, as well as being a regular on the s…

J. K. Simmons tends to avoid biopics when it comes to choosing film roles.

The Oscar-winning actor has starred in everything from indie smash hits Juno and Whiplash, to blockbusters like Justice League and Spider-Man, as well as being a regular on the small screen.

However, over the course of his 33 years in front of the camera, Simmons has generally stayed away from biopics – a self-imposed rule he broke for The Front Runner last year.

“I’m just not a fan,” he simply told CinemaBlend about the genre. “I find them at their worst to be just kind of a trap. First of all, you’re telling stories that we know. And second of all, you’re almost always messing with the story in a certain way because it’s going to be from whoever’s point of view, and you’re either trying to glorify or vilify that person.”

The Front Runner tells the story of American Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign, which was swiftly derailed when he was caught in a scandalous love affair.

Hugh Jackman took on the role of Hart, with Vera Farmiga playing his wife Lee, Simmons starring as campaign manager Bill Dixon and Jason Reitman directing the feature.

“Whereas with Jason (Reitman), he’s the ideal person to do a biopic like this because he, more than any director I can think of, does not want to tell the audience what to think and how to feel about something,” Simmons continued. “He wants to spark debate, show all sides of an issue and all of its warts and let people draw their own conclusions.”

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J.K. Simmons: ‘The Front Runner will provoke debate’

J.K. Simmons is adamant that his latest film The Front Runner will provoke much debate amongst cinemagoers.The actor has previously starred in movies such as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, for which he received a Bes…

J.K. Simmons is adamant that his latest film The Front Runner will provoke much debate amongst cinemagoers.

The actor has previously starred in movies such as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2015.

His most recent role sees him play Bill Dixon in Jason Reitman’s biographical drama based on the rise and fall of American Senator Gary Hart, a Democratic presidential candidate in 1988 whose profile was marred by accusations of an extramarital affair. But Simmons has insisted that questions of infidelity are not at the heart of the feature.

“What the movie does, and I think what Jason wanted the movie to do, is provoke discussion and debate,” the 63-year-old explained in an interview with Collider. “He didn’t want to come down on the side of Gary Hart being a guilty adulterer, and that it’s a good thing he’s not president, and he didn’t want to come down on the opposite side and say that the press should have left him alone and he should have been president. He wanted to leave all of those questions open for debate.”

The Front Runner also stars Hugh Jackman as Hart, as well as performances from Vera Farmiga and Alfred Molina. And Simmons has his own thoughts on the real-life story, which eventually led to Hart dropping out of the Democratic presidential nomination bid over the allegations.

“There’s certainly been a lot of conjecture about that, at the time and since then. I think if he’d been more willing to play the game and try to spin and wiggle, it’s possible that he could have weathered it,” the Counterpart star considered. “Certainly today, he could probably have weathered it more easily, in light of what’s gone on, in the last 30 years, that has failed to totally derail political careers.”

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