No Way Home and Batgirl

From Amazon Studios, the fantasy drama series night sky follows Irene (Sissy Spacek) and Franklin York (JK Simmons), a couple who have built a life and a family together, and who have also discovered a chamber in their garden that grants them access to another planet. At the same time as they hide this secret from everyone in their lives, a mysterious young man (Chai Hansen) appears which brings even more questions to their doorstep.

During this one-on-one interview with Collider, Simmons talked about what drew him to night sky, why he was such a close character for him, his experience working with co-star Spacek, and how well he can play chess and pool compared to Franklin, who plays both on the show. He also explained how surprised he was to get the call to take over J. Jonah Jameson for Spider-Man: No Coming Home and Commissioner Gordon for bat girland the new side of Gordon that audiences will get to see.


Collider: I really enjoyed that. Aside from the portal to another planet in their hangar, did it feel like a very relatable story, couple, and character? Was it easily identifiable, as a family with love and the loss of a life, when you pull out this fantastic idea of ​​being able to look at another planet through their shed outside?

JK SIMMONS: Yes, absolutely and that’s what attracted me. That, and Sissy Spacek, who was already attached to it when I had the opportunity to come on board. As usual, I don’t read synopses or journal lines. I just like reading the script. So the story unfolded, and I thought it was the story of this old couple in their home in a small town in Illinois. It was very compelling, and I had no idea it was going to become this diverse fantasy tale of international and interstellar intrigue. It was just one bonus after another. But if there had been eight episodes about me and Sissy sitting in our house in Farnsworth, Illinois, I would still have been happy to do it.

RELATED: ‘Night Sky’: Trailer, release date, cast and everything we know about the Amazon Sci-Fi series so far

You took over this role from another actor, which is not uncommon. Because of that, did you have time to prep and do your normal process, or did you have to jump in?

SIMMONS: I jumped into it, but I’ve been doing this for a while, so unless there’s something very specific to prepare for, like a skill that’s needed that I don’t have, or an accent or a foreign dialect, as with Be the Ricardos recently, where I spent a lot of time before that prepping, watching material, and reading, it played a character that for me was immediately identifiable. It’s basically my dad’s family. My dad was a farm boy from west-central Illinois, and his whole family was people from a small town around here, who I got to hang out with while we were filming, which was a nice little bonus. So, he was a very relatable character, and Sissy was a wonderful actor to work with. And then there was Chai [Hansen] and Kiah [McKirnan] and adam [Bartley], and the whole cast, as it goes. It was really just a matter of brains, and we bonded very quickly, as a whole.

How is Sissy Spacek, as a scene partner? Is it a luxury to know that, even if you don’t know her at all, you know she’s going to deliver in scenes you work on with her?

SIMMONS: Yeah. This I knew from having seen her work throughout her career. She’s been in film and TV for way longer than I have, because I’ve only done theater for 20 years, so I obviously trusted her. I knew she could deliver and she’s a wonderful actor. But I didn’t know her at all. I do that more and more now, but I just started calling people I knew had worked with her, who I trusted, and asked them, “Is she as nice as does she look like it? Am I right? Is there anything I should know? Is she crazy? And of course, I only had good reports about him. She’s one of the sweetest people on the planet and a pleasure to work with. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there are a lot of intimate, intimate scenes, and then it gets more fantastic as it goes on, but our relationship – Franklin and Irene’s relationship – remains central to the story.

You need to reprise your role as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: No Coming Homeand you must take over the role of Commissioner Gordon to bat girl. Which phone call were you most surprised to receive, or were you equally surprised by these two things?

SIMMONS: Probably just as surprised, maybe a little more by Commissioner Gordon. The Sam Raimi movies were just a gift from above for me, well, not from above, from Sam Raimi, and he’s not that big. It was a great experience, even if they hadn’t become those iconic films. And then when the next iteration of Spider Man came, there was no JJJ. And then the next iteration arrived. Who knew? I certainly didn’t expect that.

And then when the call came for JJJ’s first reappearance, it was a complete surprise. I actually think it was an afterthought on Marvel’s part because the movie was done and they wanted to do a little extra stuff as a teaser so there would be more JJJ in the future. I was just thrilled and excited to be a part of it and jump into a new version of this universe with a new director, Jon [Watts], which was brilliant and wonderful. I was very excited to do it and I can’t wait to do more.

And then, with Commissioner Gordon, when the DC Universe took a different path after Justice League. I thought, “Well, there’s another Batman, so there’s probably going to be another Commissioner Gordon.” And indeed, there were. Jeffrey Wright plays Commissioner Gordon. That one was even more shocking because now it’s like, “Wait a minute, they’ve got a new one and it’s right now, but it’s the multiverse now.” Maybe later there will be a movie where Jeffrey Wright and I, and everyone who has ever played Commissioner Gordon, will appear in a Batman film.

The multiverse will break your brains out, if you try to think about it too hard, but I love it. It looks like we’ll have another side of Commissioner Gordon to bat girl. How cool was it to have the opportunity to do that?

SIMMON: bat girl was a treat, for a number of reasons. My little piece inside Justice League was, at the time, supposed to be, “Listen, we’re going to feature this guy and we’re going to see him more in the future.” I didn’t have much to do. In bat girl, because of the relationship between Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, it’s much more of a domestic aspect of Jim Gordon. We get to see fun, in the street. . . Well, I’m going to stop now because I really don’t want to spoiler. But it was fun to do things with Leslie Grace, who plays Batgirl, and portray a different side of Jim Gordon, other than Commissioner Gordon.

You play chess in night sky, and you also play billiards there. Are you a chess player and billiard player? Do you prefer one or the other? Where does this come from?

SIMMONS: I’m decidedly poor at both. I learned to play chess when I was a kid, and I’ve had a game of chess most of my life. We taught our kids the basics when they were little. I used to play mail chess in the 70s and 80s with a friend of mine, Professor Michael Smith, if you’re [reading this], but never really good. I never really studied it. I have never read the masters’ books.

And much the same with the swimming pool. I screwed up when I was a kid. My parents were barely paying the mortgage, so it’s not like we had a pool table. But then, in bars in Montana when I was in my twenties, I was throwing a few coins. Once, when I was shooting a movie and our kids were small, I came home and my wife and kids had transformed our old living room, which was so oddly formal Ozzie and Harriet kind of living room where nobody ever did anything, and there was a pinball machine, a pool table and a ping-pong table.

It had become this giant playroom. So, you’d think that 15 years later, having had a pool table in my house, I’d be pretty good at pool, but I’m not. My kids are pretty good. Well, no, I take that back. Our son is quite gifted. The rest of us in the family are still complete hackers at the pool table.

That’s what movies are for. They can make you look good.

SIMMONS: Exactly. I know enough that they can at least make a move for, “Yeah, that’s actually him.” Yes, the ball did indeed go into the pocket. No faked photography is required.

night sky is available to stream on Prime Video on May 20.


‘Night Sky’: Trailer, release date, cast and everything we know about the Amazon Sci-Fi series so far

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