By Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
Friend of WordTheatre® JK Simmons has had an amazing award season, winning The Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and The Screen Actors Guild trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Whiplash.
From his seminal TV shows and the characters he has played on the big screen, JK Simmons has always been the most dynamic actor. Simmons’s role as Fletcher in Whiplash is the kind of performance that most actors dream of. When asked by The Wrap, if it was difficult embracing a character that was on the surface so hard to like, JK said, “You don’t have to like the guy. I don’t. I don’t have to like a character to play a character. But I absolutely have to understand their perspective. I have to know where they’re coming from, what motivates them. What they want, what they love, what they fear. And it was right there on the page. I don’t want to get too mystical about it, but it just spoke to me. I read a lot of scripts, and there’s a lot of good writing and a lot of OK writing and a lot of crappy writing. And even with the really good writing, it doesn’t necessarily speak to me. This was something I just latched onto.”
As a versatile actor, JK Simmons loves a good script and talking to Collider about Whiplash, JK admitted that, “honestly, there was no conscious role model or anything that I used. I read the script and it was all there on the page. I felt like I understood it and I would be able to be the guy to help lift it off the page.”
More than just a fan of screenplays, though, JK loves all forms of the written word. Before shooting the critically acclaimed Whiplash, Simmons lent his talents and timeless voice to a WordTheatre® event with the brilliant author Richard Bausch and the hilarious author/actor Stephen Tobolowsky. The event took place at The Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on March 10, 2013, where Simmons flawlessly read Richard Bausch’s short story “65 Million Years.” Needless to say, JK’s reading was as perfect as his performance as Fletcher for Whiplash. He embodied the voice of the story and made the words come to life.
You may remember Simmons brilliant work in such TV shows as Law and Order, Oz and The Closer and his roles in such films like Spider Man and Juno. JK Simmons is thankful for his past as he told Huffington Post, “I’ve been so blessed to have the opportunities that I’ve had. Part of the joy of doing what we [screen actors] are all fortunate enough to do here, is you get to do something different every time out. I learned that at the very beginning; I’ve been doing theater for 20 years, but when I first started doing camera acting; really, Oz was my first big thing that a lot of people saw. And I knew going into that, that it was a potential trap – […] and it was like this perfect yin-yang that I had at the very beginning, so that I was perceived as a guy who could do a variety of things. That’s what we all want to do. We all want to not repeat ourselves constantly, and explore the limits of our capabilities. So, I just want to do something different than whatever I just got done doing.”
We at WordTheatre® have always been fans of JK Simmons acting, his voice and the passion this actor has for his work. We are proud of his wins at The Golden Globes and at The Screen Actors Guild Awards, we are looking forward to the next time he shares his voice on the stage for WordTheatre® once again. Until then we urge you to watch Whiplash on the big screen as we continue hope that JK Simmons brings home the Oscar Gold at the Academy Awards in February.