Actually until Jonathan Kimble (J K) Simmons rocked the silver screen as the narrow-minded Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash I had no idea this incredible man existed (not being a Spiderman fan or a fan of the TV series where he has made his mark). Actually the Jonah Jameson character he portrayed had a touch of Fletcher in him. That might be why his name came up on the list to audition for Fletcher. The best scene in the Spiderman film showed Simmons’ character doing a hilarious attempt to imitate Spiderman, oblivious of the fact that his staff is watching.
Personally I loved Terence Fletcher and the fact that even though his dream for a Charlie Parker broke him in the end, he still had a streak of the Bastard in him that made his character so sexy. God help me I loved him.
Simmons appeared on a talk show (God only knows which one I can’t remember) and he discussed that iron body of his in the movie, explaining the director and he decided his physique would suit the character as a driven, self-disciplined, rigid man. Personally, I wanted the camera to stay on his posterior a lot longer but in the end (pun), we can’t all get what we want from a movie.
Seeing him on talk shows what a bit of a let down. He’s so adorably sugar sweet and complimentary of everyone around him – exactly the opposite of Fletcher. Of course, no one expects an actor to be the role in real life, but in my twisted mind Simmons is just a natural Fletcher and needs to be to keep that spellbinding presence. I love the fact that he is a family man and deeply appreciative of his wife and adorable kids. He certainly is no Fletcher towards them, thank God.
In fact there’s a scene in the movie when he is speaking to a little girl who has started taking piano lessons. He asks her if she will come and be in his band one day and is very warm with the child. (“When you’re grown up will you come and play in my band?”) That brief glimpse inside Fletcher’s mind just added another heart-stabbing dimension to his character, making him even more irresistible. To think! Fletcher has a human side.
Simmons was the only actor who could play that role. The many roles he played before it attested to that fact. He more than deserved the Oscar. In his acceptance speech he was both grateful ad self-deprecating – something you don’t see very often. His wife, he mentions, has returned to directing and producing which is “awesome because it means more roles for me. Because I’m sleeping with the director….” Why can’t he sleep with me? I’ll give him a role or two.
God help me, I’m obsessed with the man. One of his most memorable roles was also one of his briefest. He played Osborne Cox in the closing scene of the hilariously brilliant Burn After Reading, starring so many celebrities it’s impossible to list them all here. Besides, Simmons is the only one who matters. His last, sarcastic line in the last scene of the film? Jesus f***ing Christ.
Simmons is always working on film now. Always. He actually began acting decades ago and spent twenty years working on Broadway before he ventured into film. Everyone wants him (including me but I cannot afford him, alas). At any rate, if J K Simmons is in a new film, I intend to see it. What’s pathetic enough about Simmons that I’d include him in this blog? Nothing. I’m pathetic. It’s my slavish devotion to Simmons that is utterly, utterly pathetic.
And I’m proud of it.