J. K. SIMMONS
The versatile actor, 60, who earlier this year received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Whiplash, has played a shrink on Law &
Order, a neo-Nazi on the HBO series Oz and is the face of Farmers Insurance on TV commercials. Now he’s a cop in Terminator
Genisys, opening July 1.
What was it like to work with Arnold
Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys? “What struck me when he walked into the room for the first time is he’s just impressive—I mean, he was Mr. Universe [five times]! But actually, he’s a very approachable guy.” When fans come up to you, what do they
want to talk about? “It’s a really long list now. Lately, it’s been more about Whip
lash, but there was a guy that came up to me in a fast food place and all he wanted to talk about was The Closer . A couple of months ago, somebody came up to me and he had seen me in an offBroadway musical, Das Barbecu, in 1994.” You played a music teacher in Whiplash. What role does music play in your life? “I’m not a musician, but I studied music in college. Then I quickly segued into musical theater, and then theater and then what I do now. My father was a musician, my brother was a musician and the genes have definitely passed down: Our kids— Joe and Olivia—are 16 and 13 and both budding musicians.” Now that you’ve won an Oscar, what’s different in your career? “I’m trying to take advantage of a lot of great offers, but not work a billion hours a day, 52 weeks a year, and keep in mind that really the priority is real life.”