J.K. Simmons, <EM>The Closer</EM> J.K. Simmons, The Closer

Are things about to heat up for ex-lovers Will Pope and Brenda Leigh Johnson on TNT's The Closer (Mondays at 9 pm/ET)? Sensing that an interdepartmental romance might be brewing sometime soon, TVGuide.com Q&A'd the assistant police chief's portrayer, J.K. Simmons, about the show's success and its possible move to the fall battlegrounds, while also seeking out some scoop on Spider-Man 3.

TVGuide.com: I'm looking at this scene shot of you in the new TV Guide, and you're curling dumbbells that are, what, 30, 40 lbs. each?
J.K. Simmons:
I think those dumbbells were 80 lbs. [total]. I always do half [real weight] and half [prop weight], because you end up doing 150 reps, but you've got to have some weight to make it look good.

TVGuide.com: How is it being a fiftysomething guy in the middle of a simmering, prime-time love triangle?
Simmons:
It's a beautiful thing to be the "old bald guy" and have writers and a network that actually realize that the bald guys occasionally want to get in on the action, too. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: In your opinion, why do some fans want Brenda with Pope?
Simmons:
We laid it out in the pilot that there was a history between them and that something was still there. In Season 1 she had just arrived at the LAPD and he was married to wife No. 2, and we had a couple of scenes dealing with our relationship  what it was, what it might be, what it might not be. It's one of those things that's really fun to revisit once in a while, because our relationship has always ebbed and flowed on the edge of "is anything going to happen?" It's a good subplot.

TVGuide.com: Both being law-people, they must feel that to act on any lingering feelings would be akin to "breaking rules."
Simmons:
Oh, it's absolutely rule-breaking, yeah, if she were to sleep with the boss. But as of now, we haven't shot that scene yet.

TVGuide.com: The tease for this week's episode is that Fritz starts spending more time with a female FBI colleague, which might push Brenda toward Pope?
Simmons:
Yeah. I think Fritz has been a little pissy, a little whiny lately [Laughs] and this adds a little more of a push for Brenda in the big guy's direction.

TVGuide.com: You probably look forward to having something to do besides bark at poor Kyra Sedgwick.
Simmons:
Absolutely. To have something a little more tender with Kyra would be a beautiful thing!

TVGuide.com: Do you and cast mate G.W. Bailey ever fight over dibs on the double-initial first name?
Simmons:
Yeah, and we once got into a big thing with B.D. Wong and C.C.H. Pounder. No, in my case  and it was probably the same with G.W.  when I joined SAG, I wasn't able to use my own name. Initials [were] the best choice I was left with.

TVGuide.com: Worst case, you get mixed up with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, right?
Simmons:
Exactly. I'd like her residual checks to find their way to me.

TVGuide.com: There has been some talk at the TCA summer Press Tour that The Closer might have proven itself worthy of being a fall series. Have you heard anything?
Simmons:
I pretty much steer clear of any of that kind of stuff; I just show up to work. Obviously, they let us know the numbers are great and all that.... I think we're very happy where we are, and I'm very happy personally doing 15 episodes instead of 22 or 24. That gets to be a real grind, and it's hard for the writers to keep up the quality. This job is exactly what I was looking for when the family moved out to L.A. three years ago  it's good writing, and it's a nice part, but I'm not there five days a week/15 hours a day like poor Kyra is! It gives me time to do films and this and that.

TVGuide.com: Speaking of your films, are you done shooting Spider-Man 3? [Simmons plays Peter Parker's boss, Johan Jameson.]
Simmons:
Yeah, we wrapped two or three weeks ago.

TVGuide.com: The box-office bar has been raised a bit by Pirates of the Caribbean 2, eh?
Simmons:
[Laughs] Yeah, I'd say so!

TVGuide.com: What's your feeling on Spider-Man 3? Judging by the trailers, it looks darker.
Simmons:
I think it pulls in a lot of interesting directions. Of course, we're a long ways from seeing a final version of it, but my stuff, we had a lot of fun doing. I probably had not as much to do as I did in the second one, and maybe a little more than I had in the first one. But from what I saw the new bad-guy stuff is once again going to top its predecessor.

TVGuide.com: In 2, we met Jonah's son, who in Spider-Man lore evolves into a villain. But they're not playing that card yet?
Simmons:
Not yet. Hopefully there are plenty of cards to play for [Parts] 4, 5, 6.... I'll do a Spider-Man for every two or three years for the next couple of decades if they want. That'd be all right!

TVGuide.com: Was there any talk of Spider-Man 4 on the set?
Simmons:
Yeah, it got mentioned. In fact, the last couple of days I shot was at the very end of the schedule  we were doing some night-action scenes in New York  and [director] Sam [Raimi]  was talking about it. It's not a done deal because everybody's deals, including Sam Raimi's and all the actors', were for three pictures. But he's certainly open to doing more.

TVGuide.com: Just back up the Brinks truck!
Simmons:
Exactly!

TVGuide.com: Who would win in a fistfight: Jonah Jameson or Superman Returns' Perry White, played by Frank Langella?
Simmons:
Hmm, Frank's pretty big... But I think I might have a little youth on my side. Also, Jameson's just got more of a nasty streak, so I think I'd probably kick his ass.

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