Punisher faced off against the Man Without Fear in “Daredevil” Season 2, but — according to star Jon Bernthal — he’s just getting started. Speaking to Deadline, Bernthal discussed what drew him to the role, why Netflix fits the character best, his feelings about his upcoming “Punisher” spin-off series and more.
“I don’t think that I ever had any real longing or clear conscious aspirations to jump into the whole superhero genre,” he shared. “It was never really something that I pursued. What grabbed me about Frank is that he’s the quintessential opposite of that. He has no superpowers. He’s unbelievably human. It’s humanity that makes him such a force to be reckoned with. He’s a man who suffered immeasurable loss.”
“The Frank Castle that we find in ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 is not a guy who’s out there trying to rid Hell’s Kitchen of the criminal element,” he continued. “He’s a brokenhearted, completely isolated man who’s lost his wife and kids. He’s reeling, he’s filled with shame and remorse and regret and pain, and he’s a man on a mission. He’s trying to find these people who have taken his heart from him, and he’s trying to kill them, as brutal a way as possible.”
“I think that’s as sort of old and classic and human a tale as possible. I’ve said it before, I don’t think that I would ever begin to be able to step into these shoes and take on this role if I wasn’t a father and a husband myself,” he added. “To really, really understand what it means to love somebody, to love people more than you love yourself, and to willingly give your life for them in a heartbeat. Until you really understand that, I don’t think you can begin to understand what it would be like to lose that love. I just think for me at this time in my life with three young kids and a relatively new family, it was something that really scared me. It’s always been a mantra of mine. In art, if it scares you, run to it. That’s where you’ve got to go.”
“I think with a character like Frank Castle, it’s really important to go all the way. When he has a moment of brutality, to make it fully brutal, and then try to explain what he did with the regret and the remorse and the shame. Let that seep in a couple episodes down the road. But to try to play the brutality and shame at the same time, I think it’s not real. I really love the Netflix model, and I think they’re really on to something,” he explained.
As to the upcoming “Punisher” spin-off series, he said, “I look at it as a real joy and a real responsibility and a real honor to play Frank Castle. I feel like he’s in my bones now and he’s in my heart. I’m ready to keep going with him. As far as what this show’s going to be, and what it’s going to be about, and when it’s going to shoot, and where it’s going to shoot and all that, unfortunately I don’t know anything. It’s kind of part and parcel with the way that Marvel works. Information is definitely on a need to know basis. I am nervous, and I just want to do this character and this world justice.”
We’ll see what’s next for The Punisher when he returns in his own spinoff series, or perhaps even sooner if he shows up in Netflix’s “The Defenders” alongside Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist.
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