There are many things that are central to the story of Batgirl. Introduced in 1967 and as iconic as Bruce Wayne’s Batman himself, the female caped crusader comes from a background steeped in justice — not the least of which comes from her father, Commissioner James Gordon, head of police in Gotham City and a paradigm of justice. So, as Batgirl is finally getting her own film starring Leslie Grace, it feels necessary that Jim Gordon be as powerful a character as Barbara Gordon herself.

And who better to do so than J.K. Simmons, the legendary actor who portrayed the police commissioner in 2017’s Justice League? The star already has a long-standing history playing important comic book characters — see his return to Marvel as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: No Way Home next month — and has the perfect stern sensibility to play a no-nonsense police commissioner. It seemed there was no better choice for a pivotal figure in Barbara’s history, but even then, his return seems to have surprised more than just fans.

Speaking to MTV on an episode of the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, Simmons admitted that he felt shocked when asked to return to the role of Jim Gordon by directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.

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Image via Warner Bros.

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He also revealed that production on the film begins soon, in order to meet a 2022 release date:

“I was completely flabbergasted that they came back to me recently and wanted me to be Commissioner Gordon again, and have it be a more significant role...and I’m looking forward to it. I think I’m actually going to get on the horn with [star Leslie Grace] and the directors in the next couple days and do a little preliminary rehearsals...They start very soon, and then I jump onboard sometime in January over in Glasgow, which is a wonderful place to be shooting it because it’s, y’know, Gothic. I’m excited to be the once and future Jim Gordon.”

When asked about the script, Simmons was skeptical about how much he could reveal — the norm for working on a superhero project — but he revealed that he thought the script was an “interesting take” on the story of Barbara Gordon, as well as expanding his role as her father, Jim Gordon, beyond the bare minimum sequences he’d been given in Justice League.

Batgirl, with a screenplay from Christina Hodson and also starring Brendan Fraser, is set for release sometime in 2022.

Check out Simmons’ interview below:

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