Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah instantly became hot commodities in Hollywood when they made their mainstream feature debut on Bad Boys for Life, reuniting Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for the first time in almost two decades, with the action comedy scoring the best reviews and biggest box office the franchise had seen.
The duo would have no doubt been fielding plenty of offers in the wake of such success, but despite having been attached to Netflix’s Beverly Hills Cop IV since June 2016, they put Eddie Murphy’s return as Axel Foley on the back burner to focus their attentions on HBO Max’s Batgirl.
Production on the streaming exclusive continues, but J.K. Simmons has wrapped up his stint on set as the returning Commissioner Gordon. In an interview with Discussing Film, the veteran character actor had high praise for the energy and enthusiasm of El Arbi and Fallah.
“Dude, those guys are crazy! I don’t know how they do it, and they had been shooting for four weeks or so by the time I joined. I met them via Zoom, and I was under the L track outside of my boxing gym in Chicago when we first spoke. They just bring such an energy.
I’ve already compared them to a couple of like two-year-old Weimaraners, who have been pent up in the back of a station wagon all day and somebody just let them loose. The energy and the passion that they bring for making movies was a really fun energy to be around and then the fact that they also really know what they’re doing is is a nice part of the overall experience.”
The 67 year-old Simmons is almost as old as his Batgirl directors combined, but the youthful exuberance of 33 year-old El Arbi and 36 year-old Fallah clearly rubbed off on the movie’s surprise returnee.
Having initially debuted as part of the SnyderVerse in Justice League, we’re not sure how Gordon Sr. factors into the DCEU mythology as the father of Leslie Grace’s title hero, but at least the Spider-Man star admitted that he doesn’t know either.