Magazine article Variety

The Bald Guy Takes Center Stage

Magazine article Variety

The Bald Guy Takes Center Stage

Article excerpt

Though he's appeared in more than 50 movies and several hit TV shows, J.K. Simmons is perhaps still best known as the deadpan professor in Farmer's Insurance commercials. "It's humbling, to say the least," says the 59-year-old actor.

So perhaps it's only fitting that though Simmons landed the leading role on a broadcast network series last year - the recently cancelled NBC sitcom "Growing Up Fisher" - and starred alongside Kyra Sedgwick in TNT's long-running hit "The Closer," the part that may well earn him his greatest kudos is in a small indie film that began as a short. Simmons portrays Terence Fletcher, a teacher at a prestigious music academy who physically and emotionally terrorizes a young drummer played by Miles Teller in "Whiplash," which scored the top awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and is showing at Toronto, ahead of its Oct. 10 theatrical release via Sony Pictures Classics. Hurling insults and instruments, Simmons is alternately hilarious and horrifying, often in the same scene. It's the kind of performance that is already earning Oscar buzz for the self-proclaimed "journeyman, bald, white guy bouncing around this business a long time. …

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