Ray Stevenson Could Play The Punisher Again

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

ray stevenson punisher Ray Stevenson Could Play The Punisher Again
Poor Frank Castle. Hollywood hasn’t had much luck when it comes to translating Marvel’s iconic antihero The Punisher to the big screen. The 1989 version that starred Dolph Lundgren borrowed the name and not much else. The 2004 adaptation featuring Thomas Jane also made a few bizarre deviations from the source material – including the story’s setting and characterization of Castle.

The 2008 film Punisher: War Zone came the closest to nailing the spirit of the comics (particularly the popular PunisherMAX series), but even that film wound up falling short of expectations. On the surface, it might appear that The Punisher is a property that just doesn’t work as a feature film – but fans know the real issue is that there has yet to be an accurate depiction of the mythology.

Despite its faults, one aspect that many would agree War Zone got right was the casting of Ray Stevenson in the lead role. I know Jane still has his supporters, but I felt that Stevenson delivered a far more imposing and tragic interpretation of Castle. Although the future of The Punisher franchise is currently unknown, I would like to see Stevenson receive the opportunity to play the part in a more straightforward adaptation.

According to Cinema Blend, there’s still a chance that could happen. They recently sat down with Stevenson to discuss his new film Kill the Irishman and he mentioned that he’s spoken with Marvel about taking another shot at The Punisher. The studio recently reacquired the rights to the property from Lionsgate and that’s definitely a step in the right direction. At least we know that any future incarnations  would be developed on their terms.

However, Stevenson admits that the final decision is ultimately out of his hands. He does have a great relationship with Marvel, though – and that’s certainly not going to hurt his odds. He plays one of The Warriors Three in Thor and even provided the voice of The Punisher in The Super Hero Squad Show.

Even though I wasn’t too fond of Thomas Jane in the role, I thought his take on what would make a perfect Punisher movie was spot-on. Hopefully another film is still in the cards, but there were also rumors a few months ago that Marvel was considering a Punisher TV show. Regardless of which direction they go, Stevenson still has my vote.

My main issue with War Zone was that the villains seemed to exist in an entirely different movie than everyone else. The violence was obviously over-the-top, but Stevenson and most of the supporting cast were suitably grounded. Yet, whenever Jigsaw (Dominic West)  showed up, I started having flashbacks to Tommy Lee Jones’ hammy performance as Two-Face in Batman Forever.

The Punisher doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult code to crack. Hopefully fans will see a sincere telling of Frank Castle’s story sooner, rather than later.

Source: Cinema Blend

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  1. I definitely agree with you about the villians. At times it did feel campy and cartooney. Heck, even Billy Russoti was grounded before he became Jigsaw. I still liked the film though.

  2. I agree. The Punished could be a great movie. Actually there are a number of marvel movies and video game movies that could be great. It’s just a matter of getting them in the right hands.

  3. I never saw P:WZ, but I did love the Thomas Jane film.

    • You might not like it lol. They stuck to the origin a lot better in WZ. But the director went for more of a comic book feel to it as far as the violence. Me, I felt that Stevenson had the look, more so than Jane. I liked it better to, but i like the Jane version as well.

      • I like shoot ‘em up films like The Expendables, but the negative response towards P:WZ has keeps me from watching it. I still plan to rent it….eventually.

  4. Yes I would love to see Ray Steveson as The Punisher again. It is a great Marvel character and Steveson is a great actor. I wish it would happened.

  5. “Poor Frank Castle. Hollywood hasn’t had much luck when it comes to translating Marvel’s iconic antihero The Punisher to the big screen.”

    Because once again Hollywood took the source material and threw it out the window and tried to rewrite the Punisher story. WHY? The original story is solid and is much more appealing than the crap they keep forcing on the movie. Adapt the comic over AS IS and stop trying to make The Punisher they way they want it to be.

  6. Thomas Jane Punisher did not look good on paper (Jane is not ideal Castle, Trivolta is a crappy villian, etc.) but it turned out to be a GREAT movie (for the most part, Trivolta did turn out to be cartoony and the supporting cast of neighbors was idiotic).

    Stevenson Punisher looked much better on paper (Stevenson looks like Castle, the director was great, lots of violence, etc.) but it turned out to be a bad film (even though I liked it).

    More than anything, Punisher has had BAD LUCK on the screen but the source material is almost perfect for a movie adaptation.

    I will watch the next film.

    • You have it backwards.

  7. War Zone was an abomination. It was like someone flipped through The Punisher Max and picked things that looked “cool,” and threw them together without any respect for the source material. I love the 2004 Tom Jane Punisher. Now I’m not saying it doesn’t have problems (it does), but I feel it got The Punisher more right than War Zone did.

    I knew War Zone got it wrong right from the opening scene, where Frank hangs upside down from a chandelier, twirling and shooting people (never mind the fact that later punches a guy THROUGH the face). It was just nonstop ridiculousness. War Zone’s Jigsaw was WORSE than Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever. Ray Stevenson gave it a decent shot, but lacked any believable glimmer of humanity that Frank Castle needed. Tom Jane may have been too sympathetic but at the end of the day he was the better Castle. Stevenson looked the part, but didn’t deliver.

    I believe Marvel really should take The Punisher to the small screen on a network like HBO, Showtime or FX, where they can properly do Frank justice with, say, a 13 episode season/arc. There have been enough side characters to give Frank a small supporting cast (Microchip, Det. Soap, Henry, etc.) and he could face off against a one group of bad guys/mobsters every season.

  8. Ray Stevenson was a better Punisher but the Punisher MOVIE featuring Thomas Jane was superior. Any Punisher movie reboot won’t do well regardless if Marvel Studios do it or not. Most people really don’t know the difference, its all Marvel to them, regardless if its actually done by Lionsgate, Fox, or Sony. With that said, the only way to reboot would be to do the rumored cable TV series, cameo him or team him up in another character’s movie. The Punisher would work well in a “Heroes For Hire” movie just as a cameo.

  9. This should be Chris Nolans next project!

  10. Ray Stevenson sucked as The Punisher, get Thomas Jane back.

    • Co-sign. Hated Stevenson.

    • stop embarrassing yourself ;)

      • LOL

  11. You know why the punisher has trouble translating to the screen? Hollywood is just interpret him wrong. Frank Castle is not a superhero! If they do decide to remake the punisher, it should take place in the 70s and less like the fantastic four and more like Taxi Driver. I mean if you really think about it Frank Castle is exactly like Travis Bickle. They are both deranged anti-heros looking to clean up a dirty city. The punisher needs to get back to his roots, Organized Crime. No larger than life villans like, Jigsaw (McNulty, you could do better). No the punishers villian should actually be more relatable to the audience than the punisher. The punisher’s perfect villan would be somebody like Tony Soprano. Don’t forget that the punisher is actually Italian, and turning it into a mob story would be awesome. Michael Imperoli (Chris Moltisanti from the sopranos) would be the perfect punisher. He pulls off playing a violent sociopath really well and he looks the part of Frank Castle. He just needs to beef up a bit. In other words, The Punisher would be an awesome antihero crime drama, so stop looking at him like a superhero.

    • Uhh yeah they’d have to GGI down Imperioli’s nose a bit for that to happen.

    • @b sharps

      I agree man, The Punisher is probably the closest thing to a believable comic book character since he is human and has now super powers so the movie should be made that way, grounded in reality. The whole Jigsaw villain thing was pretty stupid. If the made a gritty movie where Castle fights believable villains, such as the mob like you said, it could be an excellent movie.

      And I would have to agree with the author of this article, Ray Stevenson looked great as the Punisher and I would like for him to reprise the role if they are willing to make it less campy and cheesy and just write a compelling story for it…

      • Oops, meant to say “has no super powers” not “now” lol

        • Ken!!!! hows life man, long time no see. Hope life is well. Thanks for the cameo :)

          • Lol, been busy man. Mostly just lurk around, see if there are any interesting news, new trailers, any new conspiracy theories to keep me entertained, stuff like that. Only comment every now and then through my phone. What about you?

            • Well, me, I’m happy as hell, I’m about to get another .45 lol. I’ve been commenting here less and less over the months, too many people here that I have issues with, but just don’t feel the need to start a pissing contest you know.

              • Ooh, what kind of .45??

                I’ve been looking at the new Ruger LC9 to replace my little 5-shooter Smith & Wesson as my pocket gun…

  12. @kisjonez Nolan really , I mean is that what everyone s answer to a movie is today just give it to Nolan, I personally disagree give it to Guy Ritchie or Callahan, or Bigelow. Let them have a go , Punisher needs three things 1. ground in reality(no over the top villians)
    2. gritty and violent 3. stick to the source material, also who ever said he would be good in a heroes for hire team up is crazy. The Punisher is a lone warrior with serious issues and any hero that has worked with him has always regretted it.
    The idea of a Punisher TV show is a great Idea, have the guys that did the Shield do The Punisher, I would look at Garth Ennis run on the book and stick to that material.

  13. I agree with your points Stevenson was the right choice in all aspects, the Jigsaw character was nothing like the comic character and was comic relieve at best. It was like watching two separate movies and it did not flow well but the Punisher character was the best of all the movies and actors who represented him. If they do decide to follow through, I hope Stevenson continues the role. Also if a TV show is in the works it would have to be linked to a cable show like FX of Spike that could allow over the top violence.

  14. Chis, as always great article man. Just thought I would give you props here :)

    • Thanks, Anthony!

  15. Ray Steveson was a great punisher. If a remake is in the works, I would defiantly love to see him in the suit again. Every reboot from marvel though ends up changing the actor, so I doubt we will see him again.

  16. Stevenson was a great Castle it was the dialogue of the film that was crap the way jigsaw and his brother spoke and delivered their lines made me ill it was all the directors fault for that movie failing plain and simple

  17. how can people say tom jane’s garbage was/is better then ray stevenson’s one ? there is nothing good about that movie, tom jane didn’t fit the part (to skinny and pretty boy looking) the acting was no better then the ones from war zone and the action/realism was stupid/off the mark.
    war zone was bloody, violent, dark and true to the character, sure some of the characters from the comics where misplaced but most of them where there and where portrayed pretty decently.

    if people who want a reboot of the punisher and say they hate war zone but love tom jane’s one, then i suggest you go back and read the f***ing comics before embarrassing yourselves ;)

    • Not to mention the Jane film got the origin wrong. But that said i still liked it a lot, but not as much as i LOVED WZ..that was Punisher badass personified.

    • They can’t make a movie only to please comic fans.
      That being said, no one in War Zone could act. The way it was handled, I was reminded of Batman Forever. I kept waiting for the Punisher to show up in his van with neon underglow.
      And you might want to consider going back and reading the books as well since not much was right in War Zone either.

      • the characters where from the max series, but where screwed around quite abit. it also had the violence of the max series, so idk what i’m missing.

  18. Steveson does look more like Castle than Jane, but Jane’s film is a million times better than Steveson’s. If Steveson gets the chance to do it again, thats alright but would rather have Jane.

    The villians in War Zone were horrible, Jig-Saw was wierd and his brother was annoying as hell. Travolta was a good villian as odd as that sounds.

    But now that Marvel has the rights back, we should get a good Punisher film.

    • I think the problem with both movies were the badguys , they were both horrible in both movies, I hated that Janes’s took place in Tampa, I hated the over the top non sense of Warzone, Stevenson’ supporting cast as far a micro was much better then Jane’s neighbors, Both movies used parts of ther respective books well for some parts , not so well for others. i would call them a draw as far as which was a better movie.

      if they were to do another Punisher , I would say do it like RAW DEAL, keep it serious, tighten up the story have Ben Affleck Direct it and keep the tone similar to the Town with amped up violence and we might have a comic book movie worthy of awards. if any Marvel or Dc character would be perfect for this kinda treatment it would be the Punisher.

      • Totally agree with all of that

  19. I believe a Punisher movie could work with a “voice over” type of thing… Sin City like… After all, thats the interesting part of the character : “what he thinks”. …Silent…

  20. The Punisher movie definitely has people talking which means people like the Punisher and are willing to see it. I LOVED the Punisher Warzone- it was like a Grindhouse movie! It was over the top in violence but that’s what’s so cool about it!

    Ray Stevenson was AWESOME as the Punisher. The villains made me laugh but that’s okay, Jigsaws brother- eating the guts of that prison nurse was so funny. I still use the quote when I’m going to kick ass (in Battlefield or Call of Duty of course- ahem). “I’m going to get my apple sauce back- did you know that apple sauce is a delicacy in Sweden?” LMFAO!!!!

    Oh how I love watching that movie. It’s FUN! that’s what its suppose to be about! Punisher is like the JASON VORHEES or FREDDY KRUGER to bad guys! We wanna see someone chop up and just totally blow to pieces all the bad guys. This is awesome cheap horror movie material!


    What failed in the PWZ movie was there was NOOOO such media campaign at all. So, nobody ended up watching it. They gotta promote the movie better. I thought the movie was going to be crap myself and almost didnt see it. Only reason I did was cause I love comic movies.

  21. I had forgotten how intense the Jane vs. Stevenson debate can get! I used to think both actors were decent Frank Castles stuck in mediocre movies. But after revisiting the 2004 Punisher recently, I liked it even less than the first time I saw it.

    In my opinion, Jane is just trying way too hard. The voice, the attitude, everything. But I realize that part of the problem is that the script is so melodramatic (“The obituaries…” LOL).

    I know subtle is a strange word to describe anything in War Zone, but that’s what I thought Stevenson’s performance was. Now obviously, the film focused on Frank some time after his family has been murdered rather than right after, but that’s the version of the character I prefer. I think he’s more compelling when you see how obsessive he’s become with his quest. It stops being a generic revenge film and turns into a pretty tragic story about a guy who’s too far down this path he’s chosen to come back. Stevenson felt so much more like the Castle from some of my favorite Punisher comics.

    My main problem with Punisher ’04 is that is turns Frank into a Jigsaw-esque mastermind setting traps and playing tricks instead of going to war. That climax was ridiculous. I guess he spent the entire previous night making sure he set bombs that made a skull shape that no one would even see (except maybe for some very confused passengers on a commercial airplane).

    I want to see The Punisher use a rocket launcher, not a popsicle.

    • Good points, Chris. I like both films, BUT I liked WZ a lot more. I like seeing over the top action in comic book films. The directors hit exactly what she wanted with WZ. More comic book violence. And yea, Stevensons Punisher to me anyway seemed more torn, more broken about the tragedy that befell his family.

  22. they need to keep him. yeah the last Punisher had its flaws but Stevensen has gotten much better as an actor since..kill The Irishman is proof of that..Also they need to get John Hensleigh back as director..The first one with Jane was not bad but it didnt have what the last one had in way of creative violence..combine the two films,get a great script that has stevensen actually having lines(imagine writing for vinnie jones is all they need to think) and a good story that folks in the theater can sink their teeth in.If not Hensleigh then get Lussier, his DriveAngry Flick was awesome and brutal at the same time…great characters,great script,great action.

  23. The last one…WAR ZONE…was TRASH! One explosive decapitation after another. That’s entertainment? I don’t think so. The chartacter deserved better than the grossly BAS TASTE that was on display in that film. It was BAD FILM MAKING, and I would have to know in advance that it was NOT going to be just another gorefest before I would pony up a single dime to see another one. Better to have Stevenson play the character in a supporting role in some other character’s movie.

    • Wow Barry Warry, tell us what you really think.

      • “Barry Warry”…8^\ Anthony…How old are you? What grade are you in? LOL!

  24. Technically I would have no problem whatsoever with either Thomas Jane (who seems to know what he’s talking about) or Ray Stevenson (who puts on a good portrayal).

    Of the two movies, I liked Jane’s Punisher, I was just able to enjoy it better, but I do agree that it was too melodramatic. It needed more 80′s style violence.

    Ideally I think the best Punisher movie would have some combination thereof of the three movies to date – the violence (and the wonderful one-liners) from Lundgren’s movie, the professionalism, and the serious tone (without so much melodrama) of Jane’s movie, and the portrayal of Stevenson. But yeah, include more of the mythos and also bring in a director and writer who knows the Punisher universe well. Not sure any of the ones we’ve had so far really got it right so far.

    On that note, though, I do think to best way to emphasize the idea that this is a reboot, a re-start to the Punisher franchise on the RIGHT FOOTING, ie. as a part of the collective Marvel universe as visualized by Marvel Studios, I do believe a new actor is needed.

  25. Chris

    Your Tommy Lee Jones “Hamming it up”comparison is as perfect a comparison as any can come. Ever since I first saw WARZONE I’ve not been able top summarize in so simple a statement what was wrong with the film and your comparison is perfect.

    I too hope they give Ray another shot; hes a great actor. if you’ve never seen the mini-series ROME or ROME RETURNS (by HBO) you should if you like Ray.

  26. i agree, Thomas Jane version was a little too soft. Even though i liked the Thomas Jane movie as a whole better. Ray Stevenson was the better interpetation of Frank Castle. But Warzone had a lot of bad acting in it like the mobb bosses and even Jigsaw a villain with a bad temper. The next one needs better screen writing. I liked to see the director of Smoking Aces or even Sylvester Stallone put his touches to it after what he has done with the last Rambo movie and Expendables he deserves a honorable mention.

  27. Well, once again I find myself in the odd position of saying good things about a film most people seemed to loathe – and I’m talking about Jane’s Punisher. Sorry, I just thought he was kind of cool in the role. I have an issue with excessive violence in so many of today’s films, so obviously I thought that was a drawback in this film (the knife jammed up through the bad guys jaw? C’mon.) However, I thought the flick had a lot going for it. I loved the dynamic between Castle and the three “losers” that befriended him – quite beautiful in lots of ways. Execution of the fight with the Russian was clever and humorous. I find the final moments of the flick, in which Castle tearfully chooses to go on living, to be very moving. However …

    … a reprise of Ray Stevenson in the role? That would be one of the greatest anomolies I’ve ever beheld in Hollywood — classed in the unthinkable category for one simple reason: the movie was one of the most colossal box office duds in recent memory. Punisher: War Zone nabbed a dizzyingly pathetic $10 million worldwide. WORLDWIDE! Didn’t even come close to covering it’s official production costs (and they were likely materially higher than published). That’s almost always the bottom line for the suits in Tinsel Town. As dreadful as was Nic Cage’s Ghost Rider, that movie at least made money (a surprising pile of it; I don’t understand that, espcially for such an awful movie, but it did turn a tidy profit.)Conversely, nobody went to see Stevenson’s Punisher. I can imagine almost no set of circumstances in which Hollywood’s power-brokers would green light him in a Punisher reboot.

    • did you take into consideration that warzone didnt come out in cinemas around the globe ? it was a dvd release down here in australia and was being sold for less then admission price for the cinema.

      the punisher isn’t a clown, he doesn’t joke around and the fact that they made the russian fight scene seem ‘comedic’ was an insult to punisher fans. in fact i think anyone who thinks of that scene as ‘funny’ or ‘amusing’ they should do themselves a favor and read the damn comics… then they’ll see how comedic and amusing castle is ;)

  28. @steve i agree, but i don’t blame Ray Stevenson I blame the director, the screenwriters, casting director and the people that produced the film. It’ll be tough to try release another film version after two diappointments.(i won’t count the Thomas Jane version, but the film wasn’t a blockbuster or cult classic either).

  29. About the whole Tom Jane vs Ray Stevenson thing, the Tom Jane Punisher movie was BORING… And I’m sorry, but a movie about a gun-slinging badass out to kill bad guys should be anything but boring. That movie he wasted most of the movie plotting some ridiculous scheme instead of going out and killing some mofo’s. Then they waste more of the movie showing him build up this car that literally lasted ONE scene for about 5 minutes… Then his pansy-ass almost gets killed by the dumbest villain ever only to be saved in the lamest way possible…

    I’m sorry, but if you put Ray Stevenson’s Punisher in the same room as Tom Jane’s Punisher and told them “there can only be one” (in my best Christopher Lambert voice), Ray Stevenson’s Punisher would completely demolish Tom Jane’s… He probably has a good 50 pounds on him…

    Punisher: Warzone was a pretty stupid movie, but it was not Stevenson’s fault. It had some cheesy dialog and the campiest villains ever. Poor screenplay, script, director, etc. But Ray Stevenson was pure badass everytime he was on screen, and that’s what Punisher is all about. Tom Jane looked like such a victim most of the time during his movie, no thanks.

    I do have to say though, that scene when Stevenson exploded that guy’s head with a shotgun while that guy tried to put him in handcuffs got me laughing so hard I was in tears…

    • totally agree, shame alot of the people here don’t understand what we’re talking about otherwise they would stop sucking tom janes’ b***s and realise that warzone is in fact better (even though it was pretty bad).

      • I guess different opinions are beyond your understanding. Honestly, you sound like a little child when you say, ” shame alot of the people here don’t understand what we’re talking about otherwise they would stop sucking tom janes’ b***s and realise that warzone is in fact better”.

      • Jwalka,

        Stop with the crude, veiled profanity.