When we talk about perfect casting choices — even outside the realm of superhero movies — J.K. Simmons as The Daily Bugle head honcho J. Jonah Jameson in "Spider-Man" has to be right up there with the best of the best. Simmons so perfectly encapsulated the role that he has, essentially, been kept on as just about every version of the character throughout the Marvel multiverse, as evidenced by "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse." But before Simmons signed on for the role, he was seen as perfect for another, very different role in Spidey's rogues gallery.

In the most recent issue of Empire Magazine, the Oscar-winning actor reflected upon the early days of his time in the Marvel universe when he was only just hearing that Sam Raimi was going to direct "Spider-Man." At the time, he was shooting another Raimi film, "The Gift," and it was suggested to him by some colleagues that he would be perfect for the part of the Vulture. Here's what he had to say about it:

"We were shooting 'The Gift' down in Georgia, and a couple of different friends told me, 'Did you hear Sam is going to be directing Spider-Man? You should play the bad guy!' They all thought the bad guy should be the Vulture, and I should play it because of my lovely chrome dome. And I've never been one to solicit, so I never said anything. Shortly after we finished that, I was back in New York and got the word that Sam was interested in me, but I would need to audition for the producers and everybody. So I went in and auditioned, sitting in a chair, holding the script and playing a scene where I'm being choked almost to death by the Green Goblin."

Willem Dafoe ended up playing Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in the film, so the villain was handled. But Simmons was destined to play an equally important part in Peter Parker's life as the man who gave him a job taking pictures of Spider-Man. Simmons, speaking further, explained how he eventually found out he had landed the role:

"A day or two later I was back on the rounds, doing auditions, voiceover auditions. You walk into the waiting room, sign in, there are three or four other guys waiting, and then it's my turn. They're walking me through the cubicles back to the little recording booth and some young kid comes sliding into my path on his desk chair and goes, 'J.K., congratulations!' I said, 'Thanks! For what?' And he goes, 'Are you kidding? J. Jonah Jameson! They just announced it!' My agent called me half an hour later and said, 'Hey...' and I was like, 'Yeah, I know!'"

Vulture would eventually come into play in 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," with Oscar-winner Michael Keaton taking on the role (although, if Raimi's version of "Spider-Man 4" hadn't been abandoned, Vulture would have factored into that film). Keaton proved to be quite good in the role, so it all worked out in the end.

As for Simmons, he proved to be so essential as Jameson that nobody else has played the role in a movie since 2002. Andrew Garfield's "Amazing Spider-Man" films never filled the role, and Simmons appeared as a different iteration of the character in the bombshell credits scene attached to "Spider-Man: Far From Home," before returning more meaningfully in 2019's "No Way Home." It's his role and his alone.

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