While movie studios have been dominating the box office with superhero flicks for the past decade, Netflix has been dominating the small screen. Netflix has included a plethora of entertainment choices, but lately, they have been more focused on their original content.
Over the past few years, Netflix has put out several new superhero shows including titles like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. They have even expanded to spin-off shows like The Defenders, which saw these four main heroes team up. Netflix has also released two seasons of the spin-off show The Punisher, which stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle.
Bernthal is actually the fourth actor to play the character, behind Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson, but many fans consider Bernthal to be one of the best portrayals of The Punisher yet. While many superhero shows have been canceled on Netflix, The Punisher has yet to be canceled (at the time of writing this).
The show’s second season was recently released on Netflix, but there is currently no word on a third. Both seasons have consisted of thirteen episodes, which have resulted in a ton of interesting facts about the making of the hit show. Here are 20 Wild Details Behind Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher.
20 Jon Bernthal Was Severely Injured On Set
Anybody who has seen The Punisher knows that Frank Castle can inflict some serious pain on his enemies. The series has some brutal fight sequences, some of which Jon Bernthal attempted without a stunt double. While filming season 2, Bernthal actually broke his hand and was knocked unconscious while filming.
Bernthal broke his hand on the first day of shooting, but instead of taking time off, he continued to film fight sequences. This resulted in emergency surgery and is likely why Frank has a cast on for a good portion of season 2. Not only is this a wild detail about the show, but it just goes to show how dedicated Bernthal was to the character of Frank Castle.
19 Frank’s Alias “Pete Castiglione” Is Significant
When the first season of The Punisher began, Frank was hiding out by working construction and going by the name "Pete Castiglione." Some may think that this was just a random name, but it is actually a reference to the comics. In the comic books, Frank’s real name was Francis Castiglione, but he changed it to Frank Castle so that he could re-enlist for the Vietnam War.
This meant that his relatives also had the last name Castiglione– such as his wife, his parents, uncles, and grandmother. As for the character’s first name, Pete could be a reference to Peter Parker since The Punisher first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129.
18 Jon Bernthal Stayed In Character For The Punisher
When it comes to acting, every actor has a different approach to the trade. Some people drastically change their appearance for a role while others stay in character at all times to stay in the role. Some actors take this method acting approach to a whole other level like Jared Leto and Heath Ledger, but Jon Bernthal also stayed in character for The Punisher.
When appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote season 1, Bernthal revealed that he stayed in character even when the cameras weren’t rolling to experience the dark world that Frank lives in. Bernthal joked that he considered it kind of pretentious, but that it really helped him with the character.
17 Jon Bernthal Had A Crazy Workout Routine
Many actors are in incredible shape, but bulk up even more to play a certain role. This is very much the case for superhero movies and actors often have an intense workout routine to get in shape. The Punisher was no exception as Jon Bernthal had a crazy workout routine.
Bernthal explained to Men’s Journal that the workout regime was quite intense and included activities like strength work, metabolic conditioning, and jiu jitsu workouts. He was also cautious with what he ate, mainly eating lean meats and vegetables for the duration of the shoot. He also joked that he had been craving pizza, but had to be careful with what he put into his body.
16 Jon Bernthal And Giorgia Whigham Had An Instant Connection
While season 2 of The Punisher is largely focused on the relationship between Billy Russo and Frank Castle, a good portion of the show also shows Frank traveling with a girl named Amy, aka Rachel. This character is played by actress Giorgia Whigham, who apparently had an instant connection with Jon Bernthal when she auditioned.
In an interview with JoBlo TV Show Trailers, Bernthal explained that he knew right away that Whigham was the right actress for the role when she auditioned. He also explained that he was close with her father, Shea Whigham, whom he worked with on The Wolf of Wall Street, and embarrassed Whigham by saying that her parents raised a great young woman.
15 Jon Bernthal Fought Hard To Not Make The Punisher A Hero
The Punisher has gone through a lot of storylines throughout his career. The character is often seen as a hero, but the character has done more than his fair share of despicable deeds since 1974. Jon Bernthal’s version of The Punisher is a specifically darker take on the character and Frank Castle shouldn’t really be a role model for people.
Technically, The Punisher is an anti-hero and Bernthal fought hard to make sure the character wasn’t seen as a hero. There are times when viewers can empathize with Frank given his tragic family situation, but there are also just as many times when Frank can be a real jerk or do something that a true superhero would never even think about doing.
14 Claire Temple Almost Appeared On The Show
Claire Temple, played by actress Rosario Dawson, is one of the few characters that appeared in Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. While she appeared in 5 out of the 6 Netflix superhero shows, she didn’t make an appearance in Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher. That being said, Dawson did want to appear on the show.
She revealed in an interview with Cinema Blend that she wanted to appear on the show in a cameo role, but that it just didn’t happen due to everyone’s busy schedules. Dawson has still been staying busy and often provides the voice of Wonder Woman for animated DC movies. Dawson was also recently cast in Zombieland: Double Tap.
13 Karen Wasn’t Originally Part Of The Punisher
Much like Claire Temple, Karen Page appeared on more than one Netflix show. Deborah Ann Woll started playing Karen in Daredevil in 2015, but also appeared in The Defenders and The Punisher. Despite her forming a close friendship with Frank Castle in Daredevil, she almost wasn’t a part of The Punisher.
Showrunner Steve Lightfoot was apparently so enthralled with the chemistry of Karen and Frank in season 2 of Daredevil that he asked Marvel to include her in The Punisher. Karen didn’t have a big role in either season of the show, but having her in The Punisher was a nice touch nonetheless. Some people even wanted to see Karen and Frank form a romantic relationship, but that seems unlikely to happen.
12 Micro Almost Looked Very Different
Micro, aka David Lieberman, aka Microchip, first appeared in The Punisher #4 in 1987 and was chosen to play a key role in the first season of The Punisher. Ebon Moss-Bachrach was the actor chosen to portray the character, but Micro almost looked very different. Mainly due to the fact that another actor almost played the character.
Actor Michael Nathanson revealed that he had auditioned for the role of Micro, but didn’t get the part. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he still got a role in The Punisher, playing Homeland Security agent Sam Stein. Nathanson did great in the role of Madani’s partner, but most people would agree that Ebon Moss-Bachrach was the best choice for Micro.
11 They Purposefully Gave Jigsaw A Different Look For Season 2
Billy Russo, played by Ben Barnes, was an integral part of season 1 of The Punisher, but he didn’t truly turn into the villain Jigsaw until season 2. Fans of the comics know how disfigured Jigsaw’s face is supposed to be, but in The Punisher, Jigsaw manages to overcome Frank’s wrath with just a handful of facial scars.
Many people didn’t like Jigsaw’s look in the show, but that is because Marvel decided to compare Billy’s mind to a Jigsaw instead. Season 2 dealt with Billy struggling with massive memory loss, so in a way, his mind really was like a jigsaw puzzle. While this was a unique approach to the character, some still would have liked to see Jigsaw’s comic look.
10 The First Season Premiered At 3 AM For A Reason
The first season of The Punisher was released a few years ago in 2017. The series was originally supposed to release in early 2017, but was pushed back in the wake of rising tensions in the West. The complete season was available to stream on November 17th, but the series became available at a rather peculiar time.
The season was released at 3 AM EST, which was done for a specific reason. The first episode is titled “3 AM” which references the time that Frank usually wakes up every night after dreaming about his family. 3 AM is also commonly called the Witching Hour, which is often a time that weird events happen in horror movies.
9 Micro Had Been Mentioned In Other Marvel TV Shows
Micro was one of the main characters for season 1 of The Punisher, but didn’t appear in season 2. The character was a hacker who went underground to expose secret government affairs. Micro and Frank team up in both the comic books and the TV show, but Micro was hinted at prior to The Punisher.
Micro was mentioned in season 2 episode 7 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when Skye talks about a crime scene junkie named Micro. He is again mentioned in Daredevil at the end of season 2 when Frank picks up a CD with the word “Micro” written on it. Other than this, the Netflix shows and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. don’t have many connections.
8 Ben Barnes Put A Lot Of Research Into His Character
Billy Russo’s character was much different in season 1 than it was in season 2. Russo's skill level nearly matches Frank Castle’s, so Barnes had to make his character seem very authentic. Ben Barnes knew this and took his research very seriously for Russo’s character. In order to prepare for the role, Barnes watched several Special Forces documentaries, met with veterans, and of course went through excessive stunt training.
Barnes also told Collider that he had boxing training and would walk around Brooklyn at night to prepare for the role. Barnes further explained, “I met up with a couple ex-Special Forces soldiers that relayed some of their experiences to me and trained me, in terms of their movements and how they would move with their various weaponry”.
7 A Custom Shotgun Was Made For Amber Rose Revah
One of the main characters in both seasons of The Punisher was Dinah Madani played by actress Amber Rose Revah. Madani was a Homeland Security agent who was betrayed by Billy Russo, forcing her to team up with Frank in season 2. Since she was a Homeland Security agent before being promoted to the CIA, Madani knew her way around a firearm.
With that in mind, the shotgun she uses in the show was custom made for the actress to match her height and stature. So even though her weapon looks like a normal size on screen, it is actually a mini shotgun. Even without a shotgun though, Madani can hold her own in a fight.
6 Ben Barnes’ Other Roles Link To The Punisher
Most superhero movies and TV shows have a lot of cameo roles and easter eggs that reference other superhero characters. The Punisher certainly does this, but it also references some of Ben Barnes’ other acting roles. In season 1, Billy Russo is seen reading the book The Picture of Dorian Gray and in 2009, Barnes actually played the character Dorian Gray in the movie Dorian Gray.
Ben Barnes also actually acted alongside Daredevil actor Charlie Cox in the movie Stardust. In the film, Barnes played the younger version of Dunstan Thorn. This means that Barnes played Cox’s father in the movie even though the two actors are only a year apart in real life.
5 Dinah’s Parents Are Married In Real Life
Dinah Madani has appeared in every episode of The Punisher to date, so her character has developed quite a lot over the last two seasons. This means that we not only got to see a lot of Madani’s life, but we also get to meet her parents Hamid and Farah. Hamid Madani is played by actor Houshang Touzie while Farah Madani is played by actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.
What makes their casting in the show unique is that the pair is actually married in real life and have been living the married life since 1987. Houshang Touzie is most known for his role in Argo and Homeland, while his wife is most known for acting in House of Sand and Fog.
4 They Have Ideas For Season 3
Despite most of the superhero shows on Netflix being either critically acclaimed or finding a big fan base, several of them have been canceled in recent months. So far, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil have been canceled, with the fate of The Defenders, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones remaining unknown. The third season of Jessica Jones will be released this year, but The Defenders is thought of more of a mini-series event.
Even though season 3 might not happen for The Punisher, showrunner Steve Lightfoot does know what he would want to do with a third season. Lightfoot revealed that he would want to include both Daredevil and Kingpin in The Punisher season 3, but as of right now nothing has been confirmed for the show.
3 The Co-Creator Of The Punisher Criticized A Real-Life Police Department
Even though The Punisher has been around for decades, Jon Bernthal’s version of the character has no doubt sparked a newfound interest in the character. Even though the character is an anti-hero, The Punisher isn’t exactly a role model. A police department in Kentucky had decked out their police cruisers with The Punisher logo, which didn’t go over well with the character’s co-creator Gerry Conway.
After seeing the cruisers, he posted on social media explaining that the Punisher isn’t a role model and shouldn’t be idolized by police officers. He also touched upon the issue of police brutality and was troubled that the officers thought it was appropriate to decorate their cars with an anti-hero’s logo.
2 They Had To Cancel The Comic-Con Panel
When Netflix was promoting the first season of The Punisher, they had planned to attend a panel at the New York Comic-Con. Comic-Con events like the one in New York and San Diego are a great way to promote a movie or TV show as the event usually gets a lot of coverage from news outlets.
Unfortunately, the panel for The Punisher had to be canceled after an unfortunate incident that occurred during 2017. Netflix made the decision since guns are very prominent in the show, and they didn’t think it would be appropriate to promote the show in the wake of one of the worst disasters in US history. Regardless, the show was still well-received by fans.
1 The Stark Tower Doesn’t Appear For A Reason
Despite The Punisher and the other Netflix superhero shows technically taking place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the films and Television shows have not really crossed over. In fact, the Stark Tower doesn’t even appear in The Punisher or Daredevil, despite the show’s taking place in New York. This is apparently not due to a limited budget, but a different reason.
When talking with IGN, co-executive producer Jeph Loeb explained that, “In many ways, being less specific helps the audience understand that this could be on any street corner. Where we’re sitting right now, I can see the Empire State Building, but if we were sitting 30 blocks that way, I wouldn’t be able to see the Empire State Building. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means that we can’t see it from where we are”.
Are there any other wild details about The Punisher that we missed? Let us know in the comments!