Ray Stevenson 'Delighted' to See New Punisher in Daredevil

Punisher Warzone - Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson)

With the release of Daredevil’s first season last year on Netflix, both Marvel and the streaming service made history. Netflix garnered praise from critics and fans alike, while setting new records for their original content. Marvel, meanwhile, made a bold first step in introducing more adult themes and narratives into their otherwise kid-friendly MCU. The show became a kind of standard-bearer, giving audiences the world over a glimpse into what their burgeoning plans for The Defenders -- which includes, Daredevil, the recently released Jessica Jones, this year’s Luke Cage, and the forthcoming Iron Fist -- will look like. The success of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones has solidified those plans to great interest, with each of the previous series now set for at least a second season before all characters converge in their Avengers like crossover event.

Daredevil’s return is just two months away, with Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire) set to reprise his role as the titular superhero. Joining the cast this season is Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) as Elektra and former The Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal as the hyper-violent vigilante Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher. As with Daredevil himself, Punisher’s debut within the MCU is set to be a return to form for the character, whose previous cinematic incarnations were met with lukewarm receptions among fans. Now, an actor who previously portrayed the Punisher has weighed in on the latest incarnation of the character.

Speaking with Cinema Blend about the upcoming premiere of season 3 of Black Sails, actor Ray Stevenson spoke on the character, whom he portrayed in Punisher: War Zone back in 2008. The actor still has positive associations with the role, but wonders how Frank Castle will translate to the new medium.

Ray Stevenson as the Punisher in Punisher War Zone

“I’m delighted that the character is still vivid and valid. Punisher is from the Max series of Marvel comics which is technically an R-rated, I mean it’s a very violent man doing very violent things to very violent people. How he will translate to the audience, I wish them all the very best. But, when I look at Garth Ennis’ writing, I found it to be some of the most sophisticated and intelligent writing I’ve ever come across.”

Despite his delight, there seems to be some hand-wringing about how the character will be portrayed. While it’s true that Punisher’s previous cinematic incarnations, including War Zone and its predecessor Punisher -- which starred Thomas Jane (The Expanse) -- were both hard-R films with incredible amounts of violence and adult themes, this doesn’t seem to be a terrible concern for Netflix or their audience. Both Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been unafraid to dive into the dark underbelly of the Marvel universe, and neither series has shied away from the kinds of gruesome violence Punisher is best known for.

Early buzz on Bernthal’s portrayal as Castle has been largely positive, with the character even being considered for a spinoff of his own. These signs all point to great things for the latest incarnation of the Punisher, which doesn’t bode well for Stevenson’s long simmering hopes to portray the character once more.

"And when I did the movie, I think the only thing it suffered from was that our references were from comic books that were already 10-15 years old and I would love nothing more than to continue and bring Frank back… but bring Frank back to the big screen."

Given Daredevil’s history of erasing memories and bad will from subpar cinematic portrayals of popular characters, chances of the Punisher’s return to the big screen, especially now that Marvel owns the full rights to the character, seem slim at best. That is, of course, if the early buzz proves correct.

As of now, however, there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the claims that this latest Punisher will become definitive. Netflix, it seems, can do no wrong when it comes to Marvel and if things keep going as they’ve gone so far, we can most likely expect great things when the character makes his debut.

Daredevil season two debuts Friday, March 18 on Netflix, while season one and Jessica Jones are streaming now. Luke Cage premieres later this year, and Iron Fist is expected sometime next year.

Source: Cinema Blend

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