Thomas Jane Talks Perfect Punisher Movie

Published 6 years ago by , Updated October 8th, 2009 at 7:25 pm,

punisher header Thomas Jane Talks Perfect Punisher Movie

Thomas Jane (Hung) doesn’t think that The Punisher has gotten his due on the big screen. After portraying Frank Castle in the 2004 big screen adaptation of the Marvel character, Jane (something of a fan favorite) dropped out amidst much controversy of the 2008 (reboot? Sequel? Flop?), Punisher: War Zone.

While talking exclusively to MTV recently about his new movie, Dark Country, Thomas Jane addressed the subject of both Punisher films, what makes the character great, and what kind of film it would take for him to reprise the role of a character he seems to very much know and love almost as much.

Here are some exerts from what Jane had to say about The Punisher:

“My interest has always been based more in reality than in superhero fiction…The strengths of ‘The Punisher’ that I did lie in the reality that we were able to bring to the character, and the weaknesses of ‘The Punisher’ I did were all based on people trying to make this a ‘comic book movie’—with funny characters and goofball s–t that has no place in a ‘Punisher’ film.

‘Punisher 2′ went more in the direction of goofball comic-book world than in reality..that’s why I dropped out of ‘Punisher 2′—because I’m not going to make a ‘comic book movie.’ It’s just doing a disservice to Frank Castle.

Everyone gets it backwards…You don’t want to strengthen the idea that it’s a comic book in film, because film gives you the chance to actually bring it one step closer to reality—and that’s the direction that ‘Punisher’ wants to go in.

['The Dark Knight'] made $500 billion at the box office, so I felt vindicated…[that film] validates the idea that a Frank Castle movie needs to be a gritty, reality-based film.”

Now I’ve cut these quotes WAY down, and Jane has some pretty interesting things to say if you read the full transcript. Head over to MTV News for the exclusive look.

punisher thomas jane Thomas Jane Talks Perfect Punisher Movie

Jane as The Punisher

This whole “Punisher curse” really is a head-scratcher. The character is one you would think would be easy to bring to the big screen: hell, how many movies (The Brave One), TV shows (24) or video games (Max Payne) made since 1974 – when the Punisher was created – can YOU name that emulate (or at least make you think of) the character? Yet, somehow The Punisher has been unable to find a $olid foothold in any one of those forms of media I just mentioned. So why can’t the originator succeed where so many imitators do?

I don’t really have an answer for that, I’m actually asking you guys to think it over and tell me. We’ll discuss in the comments.

For now it doesn’t look like The Punisher is going to be back up on the big screen anytime soon – but if and when it does return, does it need to go in the kind of direction Thomas Jane describes? And is Jane the man for the role?

Source: MTV

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  1. I think people see Frank Castle as a Superhero first.
    and when people think Superhero they dont think “Killers with guns”.

  2. I felt Ray Stevenson made for an excellent Punisher, but the movie itself was pretty cheesy. That was thanks to the director…

  3. @ Ken J

    “Maybe you just didn’t get it! Idiot!”


    (that’s a reference to the Pandorum thread, FYI, not an insult :-) )

  4. 100% agree with Jane here


    Did he forget the Punisher movie he was in? The neighbors, especially the cooking scene, were as goofy as you can get. That said, the goofiness in the Jane’s punisher worked “better” than the goofiness in the Stevenson punisher (the idiotic detective, over the top “loony” brother, over the top italian mob accent, etc.)

    Jane’s punisher is a more polished, more mainstream movie. However, Stevenson’s punisher nailed the look (tall, dark punisher) and the kills (violence).

  5. Dammit Kofi, you got me all figured out… :’(

  6. 1- Death Wish

    2- The first step to a perfect Punisher movie is NOT having GQ model cute-boy Thomas Jane play the gritty, rough, violent Frank Castle

    3- I enjoyed both Punisher movies. War Zone being my personal favorite

  7. @ogb

    Agree, Jane’s Punisher looked more like a real movie, but Stevenson was better as the character but the movie looked like a B-movie, lol.

  8. And as for what he said about “The Punisher not being a superhero, but a realistic vigilante”

    The Punisher is the one that always wanted to be an AVENGER, but he got kicked out by Cap because Castle is a murderer.

    Remember- the Punisher started out as a villain (SpiderMan villain…”Reaper”) so obviously Thomas Jane has no $&#%ing idea what the #@%$ hes talking about

  9. The Jane Punisher was my favorite of all the movies but Stevenson was the best Punisher. I say go serious, forget about all this corniness, like Jane said. The man I see as Punisher these days is Gerard Butler.

  10. WZ was definitely more of a “comic book movie” in an over the top goofy way. I did like the first one because of the realism.

  11. i agree Ray Stevenson looked the Part for the Film.
    but said film Dident work.
    i loved Janes aditude in the (’04) Punisher film.
    and Dark country really gave me that Graphic Novel/Film noir feel to it.
    hell,let jane Direct.
    let’em make his own punisher movie.
    if that happen and it went straight to DVD i would Totally buy it.
    also if/&/when another Punisher film is Made/Remade/ReBooted i hope they use a good villain.
    in (’08) i was Ecstatic that they were using Jigsaw.
    then i watchen the movie. :(
    if the would take a story like the (’89) Dolph Lundgren Punisher, get the attitude and presence of the (’04) Punisher, and the look down like stevenson in (’08). and a good villain to go with it and we would have an enjoyable Punisher movie.

  12. jane was by far the best even though that movie fell a little short. the rest were total pieces of garbage. stevenson was promising but that director was the worst possible choice ever.

  13. Didn’t like any of the three Punisher movies. For different reasons. But although the 04 version was more realistic, it was also pretty dull. What it needs is a good script, a director who knows what he’s doing, and not Thomas Jane. Maybe Mickey Rourke, if he wasn’t cast in the new Iron Man movie.

  14. What about the Dolph Lungren version from the 80s (?) ? I have that laying around on DVD and have been meaning to watch it. Saw it as a kid and though it was pretty good…but I was a kid lol

  15. I would like to say that although I grew up with superheros all my life, I have always liked the punisher. Unfortunately, Thomas Jane just killed it for me. Stevenson on the other hand made a much, much better Punisher. He killed the bad guys first, then asked them questions. He played an awesome part. Jane needs to shut up and go home. Stevenson needs to reprise the Punisher role but go into a deeper level of punishing the bad guys. What would also make it great would be to show a couple of cameos of other supersheros. No Wolverine please.

  16. I personally enjoyed both punishers, and prefer the more recent one (except for the horrible acting from jigsaw and looney bin jim)

    I dont see why the punisher shouldn’t be received as highly as spiderman and batman… he is a cool character with an awesome story

  17. Jane’s Punisher is one of my favorite comic related films, and the Stevenson Punisher movie is all around one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched. And I like Troma’s films if that puts it in perspective for ya. It was just so terrible, acting, shooting, everything. For those that think it captured the Punisher Max vibe, great. Still sucked. The Jane Punisher was just an all around great movie, and I became a Jane fan and a Punisher fan after watching it. I have no idea how so many people could prefer War Zone. I digress. Film taste is subjective I suppose.

  18. warzone was graphic and the most true to comic imo, but the supporting cast where the worst over the top exaggerated b******* actors ever (notably the black cop (not being rascist))
    thomas janes’ one was wierd and not to hardcore, if it was MA and had more blood and interogation like the actual character then it would have been better

    i would give the 2004 version a 2/5
    and warzone a 3/5

    again only because of the amount of detial towards the characters and the acting

    btw kazuya thats a freaking mad looking movie, finally a decent looking movie from us ;-) hehehe

  19. For anyone bashing this actor or that director, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The screenplays for ALL 3 of the Punisher movies to date have failed to grasp the magic sales formula that enabled Garth Ennis to resurrect a financially stagnant character. Even the best directors and actors can only do their jobs once the studio says “get moving and film this script”. Ennis infused the PG storylines with humour that made the PG character fun to read again (read: financial success) and gave Ennis the opportunity to explore the Punisher’s more emotionally gripping R/MAX social issues, with humour a shade darker. Any future screenwriting effort needs to decide which tone to pursue and craft conflict/villains that highlight the best qualities of THAT Punisher. The 2004 Punisher film put goofball characters in a screenplay whose explicit dark origin story demanded a more serious treatment, and the 2008 film put a serious Punisher up against a goofball villain instead of a serious, polarising social issue whose villains were only a symptom. It ain’t rocket science. Just sayin’.

  20. Why not bring in Garth Ennis and have him work with someone like David Simon “The Wire” and Richard Tuggle “Tight Rope?”
    Recast The Punisher. Ray Stevenson has the look but he blew about every line. If you bring him back I say make him go back through casting first. Let him beat out some other choices. Jane’s Punisher put me to sleep; Twice. I don’t know if it was him or that movie’s script. Seeing Travolta play a villain didn’t feel right to me which didn’t help.

    You need some fleshed out truly evil characters to be able to root for the Punisher. I think a guy like Tuggle could bring that to life. Get some real drama in there too, put a police officer up against the Punisher. A guy like Simon could bring that to the game. With Ennis cluing and tweaking those two and the output shoot throw in a cameo from the Punisher comics and you just might get somewhere.

  21. I think Stavenson got the character pretty much spot on but the film was a big let-down (particularly jigsaw & loony-bin jim, total crap). Why re-boot/re-cast/re-imagine? Just get a bloody good story and film that (is movie-making really that difficult? ;) ).

  22. Damn, meant Stevenson.

    I must chack my work.
    I must cheek my wurk.
    I must cheque my werk…

  23. I’m a big fan of the Punisher comics. To date i’ve read:
    Punisher v1
    Punisher v2 #1-50
    Punisher v7 (74 issues to date, this is the max series)
    Punisher War Journal v2 #1-26
    and the recently relaunched series..
    The Punisher (all 9 issues so far)
    Not to mention tons of one-shots, miniseries and annuals..

    What i found is this: there are basically 2 types of punishers in the marvel universe. There’s the classic version of the character, the one originally created in the 70s but started with his own series in the late 80s. And then there’s the max version of the characters which is a modern realistic take on the character written by Garth Ennis but really started with its own series in 2001.

    The classic version is set within the marvel universe, which means all the superheroes can pop in from time to time. Here, Castle doesn’t really plan much. He likes to jump in to attack (like the 2008 War Zone movie) and make up a plan as he goes along. Many things from this punisher were over-the-top and highly exaggerated to me.

    The max version never jumps into a mission without thinking his strategy first. Rarely does he get surprised by an attack. The 2004 punisher had the right idea only Frank Castle would never have wasted his time to plan his enemy to kill his own wife and his own friend. He would have planned out a way to infiltrate his home and kill him and his men quickly and efficiently. As i recall, the villain’s son was a murderer so he would’ve been a target. The wife not so much since she doesn’t really call the shots to have someone murdered. The villain (Travolta’s character does).

    So my point is this; the kind of punisher movie you want as a fan of the comics will depend on which version of the punisher you want. For me, it was the max one since Frank is much more real, smart and wiser than the classic one.

    Thomas Jane might not have nailed the exact of the max version like Stevenson has but I found he was a better actor . In the interest of realism, Jane’s punisher look was close enough. Stevenson’s acting was too “wooden” to me. Like he was missing a bit of personality in him. The max punisher never just “storms” in a building without a plan to kill a bunch of bad guys. Frank always plans out his attacks but he doesn’t take forever to do so like we all saw in 2004.

    As an avid fan and longtime reader of punisher comics, my only wish is that Disney eventually brings back the Punisher to Marvel Studios and let them make a decent, realistic max version of the punisher and let Thomas Jane do reprise his role. Given a decent serious script he CAN pull this off.

  24. What needs to happen, is HBO need to do a Punisher series.

    Then you’d get it done right.

  25. The Punisher is based off of a character/series of books called Mack Bolan/ The Executioner. Initially written by Don Pendelton and later ghost written by many different people. In the book series Mack Bolan a.k.a Sgt. Mercy is called home from Viet-Nam to bury his mother and father. His sister died as a result of being turned out buy the mob as a prostitute. His younger brother is the only one to survive. As a result he uses his skills as a soldier and opens a major can of hurt by waging a one man war against the Mafia. I won’t go into more detail as there is a lot of history to the character. I started reading these books when I was 12 years old. Since then I’ve always wanted to see Mack on film and done well. Thomas Jane (for me) fit the bill rather well in The Punisher role. I liked the feel of the guy on screen, his attitude and presense. Though watching him play mind games with the family, causing them to destroy themselves from the inside out was fun, it wasn’t quite what I would look for in a Punisher movie, personally. I did enjoy the movie. And certainly prefer it to any of the other Punisher movies brought to film.

    btw if anyone ever wants to talk about the Mack Bolan books or books in general let me know. I can talk for hours about books. LOL

  26. Out of the 3 movies, WZ was my favorite. The other 2 just put me to sleep. However, all 3 failed to live up to my expectations. Yes, like The Dark Knight, they need to make it more realistic, pull you into the movie, but at the same time remain true to the roots of the story line. Very dark, very violent and gritty. This should be an R rating, and not a movie you leave smiling and feeling good about, but rather vindicated at watching the “bad guys” getting their justice served. But hopeless at knowing the cycle of good and evil, fighting the corrupt, and kill them now, or you’ll just have to kill them later….. never ends. Not for Frank anyway…..

  27. Frank’s body is riddled with scars from his “War”. He’s been almost killed many times, heck I think his heart’s actually stopped once or twice.

    This rasputin quality has never been translated. The criminals say, “Why won’t you die?” And it’s not a healing factor, its not immortality… its sheer obsession, … willpower. The punisher runs on obsessive adrenaline like a pcp addict. He’s a force of nature. And technically, a sociopath.

    He’s should be treated as such on film. Then you’d have an interesting movie.

  28. Thomas Jane is spot on. He is the only person that I can see playing that role.

    In response to the pretty boy comment, he is NOT a “pretty boy”. He is extremely masculine. 100% man & 100% The Punisher.