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One of the joys of shared universe storytelling is finding new narrative real estate to explore characters who were previously pushed to the side of things. They might be a glorified cameo in one story, but they get to really open up and be themselves in others. Batgirl, the upcoming HBO Max original movie starring Leslie Grace as the title character, presents that kind of opportunity for Jim Gordon, played in Justice League by J.K. Simmons.
Fans were excited when the Oscar-winning actor stepped up to play the role of the Gotham City police commissioner for Zack Snyder's film, but both versions of Justice League are absolutely packed movies with loads of plot and an ensemble cast, leaving little room for exploring who this version of Gordon really is. So when Simmons agreed to come back for Batgirl, it felt like a chance to do a little something more.
"[It] really came as a complete surprise that they wanted me to be that guy again," Simmons said in a new interview with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences blog A.frame.
Written by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) and directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life), Batgirl will focus on the title character's work as a Gotham City vigilante, and delve into her relationship with her father, the city's police commissioner. In some versions of the Batgirl story, Jim Gordon knows what his daughter is doing on the side, while in other versions he doesn't. However this film portrays that relationship, though, it's a chance for Simmons to show us what Jim Gordon is like at home, something he relishes exploring.
"The tiny role that Commissioner Gordon played in Justice League was very businesslike and very, 'Let's see if we can stave off the end of the world!'" Simmons said. "What appealed to me about this movie was from Jim Gordon's point of voice, it's really more a story about him as a guy and as a father and not just about the guy who's turning on the Bat Signal and trying to keep the citizens of Gotham safe—although that's obviously also a part of the story. But it was a chance to delve into a different aspect of the character."
With a cast that also includes Ivory Aquino as Alysia Yeoh, Brendan Fraser as the supervillain Firefly, and Michael Keaton once again returning as his version of Batman, Batgirl is set to hit HBO Max soon.