Punisher Actor Jon Bernthal Walked the Brooklyn Bridge Until Sunrise

by | March 16, 2016 | Comments

(Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Netflix)


After the breakthrough first season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, what could possibly make fans more excited than just the promise of a second? For starters, adding more Marvel heavyweights into the mix. For Season 2, starting March 18, Jon Bernthal joins the cast as Frank Castle, who comic book readers (and a few Dolph Lundgren fans) know as the Punisher.

This is a fitting reintroduction for Castle, since the character originally appeared as a guest star in The Amazing Spider-Man comic book. Now he appears in Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox)’s world to bring more definitive, deadly vigilante justice to the crooks of Hell’s Kitchen. Bernthal spoke to reporters after the Television Critics Association panel for Daredevil and Rotten Tomatoes was there.

Q: How much awareness did you have of the Punisher prior to getting the gig?

Bernthal: You always have to learn, right? That’s been one of the joys of doing the job. I think what was sort of to me like a tidal wave was not just how much is out there, but how it important it is to so many people. People care deeply about this character. Again, that just makes my responsibility even bigger. I will tell you one of the real joys for me about this process was to go into comic book shop after comic book shop all across this country and just sell them out of Punisher stuff. That was a real joy for me. I’m a fan for life now.

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: What was one thing you got from the comic books that really clued you into Frank Castle?

Bernthal: For this character, and I think what makes it such a such a wonderful fit for the world they so successfully created last season, is they presented this world that was so authentic and so gritty. And I really feel it’s the perfect world to reintroduce this character. I think, for me, since so much of Season One was about Matt sort of dealing with this decision to be a hero, I think here comes this guy who, you know, he’s really not concerned with that. I think, if I got one thing from the comics, as far as superpowers, his superpower is his rage. His superpower is that he is not going to quit, and he is going to go forward no matter what. And that’s as human and grounded a quality as I think this sort of genre could have.

Q: Do you and Charlie ever pause to go, “Wow, we’re playing Punisher and Daredevil fighting each other?”

 Bernthal: Look, I wish I was a little less serious, man. I’m a pretty serious guy when it comes to that stuff. There might be moments of that, but what’s so wonderful about Phil Silvera, the stunt coordinator and fight choreographer, there’s no fighting just for the sake of fighting. I dare anybody to say that there’s any stunt work or fight work on television that even comes close to comparing to this. I’ve been in big features with great fight teams where we have six months of rehearsal to do one fight. This is television. We’re racing the clock. We’ve got to get this in. It’s so ambitious. They never scale back. They go for it and they get it done. The best thing, I think, about the choreography of the show is it’s all story-driven. It’s character-driven, story-driven. Every punch, every kick, every way in which you deal with the weapon is character-based and story-based. So it’s not as simple as just, “I’ve got to fight this guy.” There’s a reason. What’s my goal? What am I after? What am I going through and what’s behind me? What a pleasure.

RT: Could you have asked for a better introduction?

 Bernthal: You guys have seen it. I haven’t seen it. Again, for me, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that it’s a dream job, but I just keep going back to it’s just an honor for me. I don’t really allow myself to say, “Wow, this is great.” I just really want to get it right. I just really want to get it right.

Q: Is it difficult to pull yourself out of the dark space you go to?

Bernthal: Yeah. It’s part of the deal. Everybody works differently. I respect everybody’s way of working. Unfortunately, I don’t trust my skill enough to go to work, be the Punisher, and then go have a latte or go out to a nightclub. It’s just not who I am. It’s not what I’m about. A lot of it just means, for me, really having the discipline to adhere to a certain lifestyle which means the first few weeks, putting on a 60 pound backpack and walking over the Brooklyn Bridge all night long until the sun came up. I don’t know why I did it. I just did it. It’s weird. It’s actor crap. It’s what I do. I think for me, the big thing is I have three young children. They’re my life. The only thing, aside from my work, that I care about in this world is my family. I have to separate from them. I have to lock them out for a few months to really dive in. Then you transition. Your kid doesn’t care that you’re the Punisher. Your three-year-old could care less.


RT: Is the military a very specific take on the Punisher? Other Frank Castles have been cops.

 Bernthal: I don’t know what I’m allowed to share with that. To me, it’s incredibly important not only that he’s military, but the specificity of what his military background is — where he served, what he did, who he served with, what were the circumstances of his service? And more importantly, I think, who he was before he was in combat and after.

RT: I didn’t mean a spoiler. I just meant if PTSD or special skills made him more than a cop.

Bernthal: Look, man, again you’re going to have to wait and see. I will say that it’s quite specific. It’s quite specific.

RT: Talk already started of a Punisher series. Do you enter something like this knowing it could spin off?

Bernthal: I really don’t. I really go into this just looking at the job at hand. I’ll tell you that, again, this whole company is shrouded in secrecy. At first, it was frustrating. I look at it now, I love it. I love it. I don’t have to concern myself with it. It’s not my business. My business is the task at hand. I will say this is a character that resonates deeply with me. Like Frank Castle, I stand ready at attention.

Q: What intrigues you about possibly carrying him forward as an antihero, and popping into different corners of the Marvel universe?

Bernthal: Again, for me, my concern here is what did we do this season? You watch Season One and it is just a kick-ass television show. I got the opportunity to play this character on Season Two of this television show, and that’s the Frank Castle that I’m concentrating on now. That’s the deal.

Tag Cloud

anime SDCC binge CBS Trivia thriller Hallmark Christmas movies Arrowverse MCU VH1 jamie lee curtis TCA Winter 2020 CW Seed 21st Century Fox dramedy Super Bowl psychological thriller 2019 Lifetime Christmas movies Showtime Apple TV Plus fast and furious miniseries Pride Month Lionsgate hispanic President elevated horror nbcuniversal Universal Marvel Studios Western Podcast halloween 20th Century Fox Chernobyl Amazon Prime DC Comics Marvel classics Pop 2018 zero dark thirty Captain marvel cults historical drama Biopics The Witch series Discovery Channel strong female leads Rocketman mutant directors Funimation Film Festival Travel Channel DirecTV cancelled TV shows IFC Netflix Christmas movies news Character Guide movie animated DGA spy thriller HBO Go crossover Amazon Prime Video Disney streaming service 007 romantic comedy festivals Sony Pictures Thanksgiving golden globes films HBO Max Polls and Games TLC ESPN 2017 BET PBS chucky Brie Larson Trailer sequels Reality Mary Tyler Moore diversity Apple TV+ Box Office psycho BBC Avengers Crunchyroll Musicals die hard slashers Animation politics Music TV renewals concert Amazon Studios adaptation Certified Fresh justice league Fox News Holidays DC streaming service E! Britbox christmas movies award winner The CW toronto medical drama Christmas war The Walking Dead Turner Classic Movies Writers Guild of America critics sports adventure festival travel The Arrangement VICE Summer spain police drama scorecard Valentine's Day GoT kids Sundance Now all-time casting reboot Song of Ice and Fire worst movies 2015 The Purge video zombie BBC One theme song Lifetime Martial Arts reviews dc Starz MSNBC FX Shudder discovery ghosts Esquire 24 frames New York Comic Con X-Men Turner best Film natural history cancelled TV series ABC A&E Ovation 45 asian-american Adult Swim Endgame Hulu Nominations scary movies Trophy Talk television WarnerMedia Spring TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Watching Series Nickelodeon aliens TNT cancelled Pop TV breaking bad YouTube Superheroe First Look quibi universal monsters Amazon ITV IFC Films comics criterion RT History Comedy Central game of thrones YouTube Premium Infographic Comic Book Year in Review game show TCM crime drama rotten Grammys Mystery Television Critics Association Comedy robots comedies 2020 Disney Channel BAFTA Elton John Lucasfilm Set visit technology USA Network El Rey independent Disney Plus San Diego Comic-Con Action Warner Bros. TV Land latino foreign Toys Tubi renewed TV shows crime thriller OneApp Video Games hollywood SundanceTV obituary Netflix Pixar Binge Guide children's TV canceled Emmys documentaries social media unscripted Women's History Month nature FX on Hulu American Society of Cinematographers GLAAD biography Premiere Dates Mudbound Food Network Marvel Television revenge Rock facebook Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tomatazos Quiz BBC America ABC Family 71st Emmy Awards based on movie witnail Tarantino spanish language talk show franchise singing competition A24 Spectrum Originals sequel Dark Horse Comics tv talk YouTube Red AMC Peacock Black Mirror anthology Epix TIFF parents USA video on demand dragons Awards Tour Emmy Nominations Ellie Kemper Pet Sematary book documentary Hallmark child's play Teen VOD BET Awards toy story Winners science fiction Crackle Columbia Pictures Horror Pirates cooking Cannes Superheroes FOX green book Cartoon Network Tumblr SXSW blaxploitation a nightmare on elm street Sneak Peek First Reviews Family OWN Photos History disaster Fantasy Disney boxoffice Oscars remakes movies Mary poppins Ghostbusters cats Best and Worst Mindy Kaling CBS All Access zombies indie werewolf Masterpiece NYCC Opinion Fall TV PlayStation YA comic ratings See It Skip It TCA 2017 joker Reality Competition laika E3 dogs Musical Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Shondaland Calendar Academy Awards canceled TV shows Paramount Network Walt Disney Pictures HBO spinoff Anna Paquin APB Spike mockumentary FXX mission: impossible Disney+ Disney Plus romance GIFs screenings Kids & Family versus CMT Stephen King Bravo sag awards Marathons Television Academy finale Countdown Apple spider-man National Geographic Black History Month Sundance TV 2016 football serial killer TV PaleyFest nfl Rom-Com Winter TV indiana jones what to watch teaser LGBT TruTV Logo worst cars DC Universe TCA Awards twilight cinemax space composers dark dceu vampires Mary Poppins Returns Heroines Nat Geo batman NBC Star Trek Interview Freeform stop motion name the review 72 Emmy Awards Acorn TV Holiday superhero Hear Us Out stoner Drama 4/20 Extras Baby Yoda venice LGBTQ Rocky south america Star Wars comiccon transformers crime Red Carpet Cosplay richard e. Grant blockbuster Election MTV period drama cartoon CNN harry potter cancelled television Syfy doctor who TCA political drama Schedule sitcom TBS true crime Classic Film streaming Sci-Fi satire screen actors guild Sundance stand-up comedy rotten movies we love RT21 Comics on TV Awards emmy awards cops free movies Country supernatural docudrama Vudu hist WGN