The Punisher star Jon Bernthal says he and Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland helped with each other's audition tapes to land roles in their respective Marvel TV and movie projects. Holland and Bernthal, of course, are two of the newest kids on the Marvel block: Holland made his debut as the MCU Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, with Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Avengers: Infinity War films still to come. Bernthal, meanwhile, made his debut as Frank Castle/The Punisher in Marvel's Netflix series Daredevil in the show's second season, and will next appear in his solo series The Punisher.
Variety reports that that actors paired together while filming their upcoming medieval adventure drama Pilgrimage with a common goal. In an interview with the trade publication to promote the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Bernthal says that he and his youthful co-star played vital roles in each other's Marvel auditions.
Bernthal revealed that he read lines off-camera to Holland for his Spider-Man audition tapes, while Holland played opposite the former Walking Dead star to shoot his audition to play The Punisher. Bernthal says:
“They use mock scenes, but it was a man telling this young boy about shooting a deer — describing the moment of killing a deer, I believe. We had to play that the deer was there and I see him getting ready to kill it. He was off camera and we were like, ‘get in here and do it with me.'”
The work Bernthal did with Holland on Pilgrimage – due in theaters in August – as well as their joint effort for the Spidey and Punisher auditions left Bernthal incredibly impressed with his co-star's work ethic. Bernthal says:
"I can’t say enough good things about Tom. He’s got strength and talent and fortitude that’s not only remarkable for someone his age, but for someone period ... We were all part of him nailing and tracking down the Spider-Man role. We got to see his determination. I’ve never seen anything like that — how hard he fought for it — and that’s how he approaches his work every day."
Judging from the critical acclaim and fan enthusiasm for both Holland and Bernthal for their roles in Captain America: Civil War and Daredevil, it appears the actors' ingenious plan to help with each other's auditions has already paid high dividends. Better yet, fans have yet to see both Holland and Bernthal in their full character glory.
It's a shame that, because of complicated studio ownership rights to different characters in the Marvel Universe, we'll likely never see Holland and Bernthal as Spider-Man and The Punisher opposite one another on the same screen. But who knows? Maybe fans can get close if they rally the producers of Pilgrimage to snag the acting duos' Marvel audition tapes and include them in the bonus features on its Blu-ray release.
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