J.K. Simmons Explains Why He Looked So Jacked in Those Workout Photos

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(J.K. Simmons.Instagram/@aaronvwilliamson)

People instantly went nuts when photos of 61-year-old Oscar winner J.K. Simmons looking extremely ripped at the gym surfaced online.

They led to an internet sensation, including, of course, lots of memes.

Many assumed that the actor was getting in shape for his role as Commissioner Gordon in the DC Comics “Justice League” movie that’s shooting.

But while talking to Business Insider recently, Simmons said that that wasn’t the case.

The actor says that his physique is strictly motivated by staying healthy.

“This is all coincidental,” Simmons, who’s doing press for the Blu-ray release of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” in which he voices the villain, Kai, told Business Insider. “After the second and final time that I got hugely fat in my life and when I lost that weight six or seven years ago, I pretty much decided that I was going to stay in decent shape for the rest of my life.”

The photos were actually taken at the end of April. He has since shaved the beard, which was for his role in the movie his wife wrote and directed, “I’m Not Here,” before “Justice League.”

Simmons said that his Jim Gordon will look very much like the other versions of the character we’ve seen.

“I’m not going to mess with something that iconic,” he said.


(Simmons in “Oz.“YouTube/HBO)

Simmons said that he first noticed how out of shape he was in 1997, when he was playing the neo-Nazi character Vern in the landmark HBO series "Oz.”

He said:

“I was not in good shape at all. I was overweight and soft and here I am playing the head of the Aryan Brotherhood in this maximum-security prison in the first-ever HBO original drama and I was watching the first season when it came out and I just thought, ‘Wow, I don’t believe this guy at all. I have to get my a– to the gym and be a believable hard-a–.’”

Then around 2009, Simmons got up to 250 pounds and vowed to get in better shape. He teamed with trainer Dana Perry, who got him down to the sleek look he showcased in his Oscar-winning performance in the 2014 film “Whiplash.”

“I’ve gone back and forth with fine-tuning the kind of conditioning I’m doing,” Simmons said. “Sometimes trying to shed weight and getting leaner and sometimes trying to pack on a little more muscle.”


(Simmons in “Whiplash."Sony Pictures Classics)

And Simmons isn’t looking to show off his body in movies. While shooting "Terminator Genisys,” in which he wears a suit in every scene he’s in, he was working with trainer Aaron Williamson, who was also training the movie’s leads, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney.

“I just had free time to go to the gym, so I started training with him,” Simmons said, adding that he still trains with Williamson and Perry in LA.

Simmons chuckles about the attention the pictures got.

“Those were shot at the end of April. I’m huge now!” Simmons joked.

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