TV Guide: Your character on The Closer, assistant police chief Will Pope, has a romantic history with Brenda Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick). Do you think they'll ever get back together?
J.K. Simmons: You don't want to say never, but it looks like so far this year, Brenda and Fritz [Jon Tenney] seem headed toward something resembling domestic bliss.
TV Guide: Some fans want Brenda and Pope together, don't they?
Simmons: I certainly hope they do, but I would assume that's mostly the bald men and the occasional random woman.
TV Guide: Later in the season, Pope gets a new girlfriend, and Kyra Sedgwick told TV Guide that that makes Brenda jealous. What's up with that?
Simmons: There's been no extracurricular romantic stuff for Pope yet, but I would be shocked if Brenda wasn't jealous, despite the fact that she has no intention of being involved with him again.
TV Guide: Is Pope ready to treat Brenda with strict professionalism?
Simmons: He's absolutely capable of that. But we're shooting an episode now where his concern for Brenda will affect his behavior and the way he reacts.
TV Guide: Will she be in danger?
Simmons: Let's say that Brenda will be involved in more harrowing situations than she usually is.
TV Guide: What drives Pope to work so hard?
Simmons: He's a political animal, and I don't think he sees assistant chief as the end of his career. A run for elected office is a possibility. But he's a single father now, and that tempers the extent to which he can be a workaholic.
TV Guide: Does he have a skeleton in his closet that could ruin his political career?
Simmons: I'm guessing that Brenda is not Pope's only inappropriate dalliance with a partner from work. He's definitely a bit of a hound dog. I'm sure that's gotten him into hot water in the past, and if I have anything to say about it, it'll get him in trouble again.
TV Guide: Didn't your TV career get a jump-start when you played a nasty perp on Homicide: Life on the Street?
Simmons: That was the start of my TV career. I played this neo-Nazi bastard, which is why when he was casting Oz, [Homicide executive producer] Tom Fontana thought of me. At the time, I was a theater guy pushing 40.
TV Guide: Wasn't that around the same time you finally married after years of fun-loving bachelorhood?
Simmons: I got married when I was 41. I did most of my fun-loving bachelor stuff around the country in various regional theaters. I met my wife, Michelle Schumacher, on a Peter Pan tour. She later had a recurring part on Oz as the love interest of [another con]. We actually built one of her [two] pregnancies into a story line.
TV Guide: Was it tough for Michelle to live with Oz sociopath Vern Schillinger?
Simmons: I would come home with my swastika tattoos because keeping them on saved 20 minutes in makeup the next morning. I had a hard time pulling my head out of Oz, and she's said there were times when I wasn't the most fun guy to sleep with.
TV Guide: What's the deal with the wig you wear as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies?
Simmons: The more I read the comic books, I thought, "You gotta have the wig, and you gotta have the mustache." And this guy's always baring his big square white teeth, so I got prosthetic teeth, too.
TV Guide: In real life, did you ever consider wearing a piece?
Simmons: I started losing my hair when I was 22, and I was once counseled not to be seen without hair if I wanted to be a leading man. So I had a piece made, and I wore it for a few auditions, but I could never bring myself to wear it in real life. I was never Brad Pitt movie-star handsome. I've always been a character actor waiting to happen.
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