Jon Bernthal has acknowledged the responsibility he feels in portraying Frank Castle in The Punisher TV series, particularly for how that character resonates with both comic book fans and armed forces members. For those that don't know, Castle, aka the Punisher, is a former United States Marine who was assigned to Force Recon. His professional training makes him one of the deadliest characters in the entire Marvel Universe, and audiences have seen Castle utilize that training first-hand throughout the second season of Netflix's Daredevil.
Bernthal's portrayal as the Punisher was so captivating that, when the season premiered, fans almost immediately launched a petition to have the streaming service give the actor his own solo series. The petition was surprisingly successful, and Netflix ordered The Punisher to series last spring, with Hannibal executive producer Steve Lightfoot serving as showrunner and Deborah Ann Woll reprising her Daredevil role as Karen Page. The Punisher premieres later this year, and Bernthal has now begun officially promoting the show, having appeared at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 this past weekend.
The actor has previously discussed how much the role means to him, and now, in an interview with Den of Geek, he has explained why he feels a responsibility to take the role as seriously as possible since the character not only means a lot to comic book fans but also members of the armed forces as well as law enforcement officers.
“...because I do have some familiarity with the comic book audience from Walking Dead, I know how much Frank Castle means to so many people and it’s a responsibility that I take enormously… it’s huge for me and I know how much the character resonates with members of law enforcement, members of the military and it was something that I really, really wanted.
And I had also known that there was a stigma to the role and people question some of the previous iterations. I got really lucky to get this part and I got really lucky to be able to tell Frank’s story over a thirteen episode arc and now that we’ve shot season one of The Punisher series, I’m just very nervous, I really just hope people like it. You know we’ve worked really hard and I really, really want people to continue to dig this version of Frank and I care about his audience deeply.”
People may soon come to associate Bernthal with Frank Castle, but many people will remember that the actor got his big break playing Shane Walsh on AMC's The Walking Dead -- and it was that role that gave him an understanding of how beloved those types of characters are to comic book fans. Furthermore, that responsibility to give an accurate portrayal of the character was amplified by the fact that his character is also a former Marine as well as the main Marvel character who specializes in using guns. So, it's understandable that he feels nervous about taking on his own series -- it's the first time he's ever headlined his own production -- because he wants to give audiences the best show possible.
In regard to the stigma that people felt with the Punisher character, that's due to the fact that there were three major portrayals of the character -- Dolph Lundgren in 1989, Thomas Jane in 2004, and Ray Stevenson in 2008 -- prior to his casting, and while those films have their fans, they weren't overwhelmingly embraced by audiences. Bernthal has already impressed critics and audiences alike with his performance in Daredevil, so hopefully, he continues to shine in The Punisher.
The Punisher premieres on Netflix in November 2017.
Source: Den of Geek