We still have a little over a month before the second season of Daredevil hits the streaming service, but that hasn’t stopped people involved in the project from raving about actor Jon Bernthal‘s portrayal of Frank Castle/The Punisher. Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb has previously called Bernthal’s Frank Castle “extraordinarily memorable”. And all of the press that were able to watch the first two episodes already have highlighted the actor’s performance, making it hard not to get excited for season two to debut.
While at the Television Critics Association to promote the upcoming second season of Daredevil, Bernthal did an interview with the folks over at Comic Book Resources about his character, if he saw the Punisher as villain, and whether or not we’ll see him sport the famous skull.
What’s your take on the Punisher? Is he a hero, a villain, an anti-hero?
Jon Bernthal: I think any time that you play a character, you can’t think about it in those terms. I think what attracted to me so much about this show in the first place was Season One when Charlie [Cox] was able to accomplish… it’s not a superhero show. It’s a show about a human being going through unbelievable circumstances. He created a completely nuanced and rich character. I think that was my job here, was to try to get to the bottom of why this man is on the mission that he is on, and to delve into that as fully as I possibly could.
I think these writers were courageous enough to not do anything as a half measure and be bold enough to lose the audience if necessary and to go full out and not worry about whether people will abandon the character or not and trust that within later episodes we can win them back.
And that’s one of the pleasures of being on a show on Netflix where you don’t have to worry about maintaining that audience. You don’t have to worry about, let’s set up the next episode because people will have a completely personal relationship to when and how they view the show. So you can sort of free yourself of those responsibilities. It’s an unbelievable honor to do this. I don’t think of him as a villain at all.
He is introduced in this sort of boogieman in a “Terminator” type of way, a man of few words and a lot of action. You’re getting to use your physicality. He’s making quite an impression but not saying a lot.
Sure, sure. Look, I think the way he’s introduced, what I dig about it and what’s bold about it is, you can lose the audience by Episode Two. They could just be like, “No matter what happens with this man before we know anything about him, his actions in Episode One and Two, I can’t get behind. In this day and age with everything that’s going on, I can’t get behind this man.” I love that.
I love that because then my goal, and the team’s goal, is to win them back and explain it and get that life and fill in the blanks. And whether you can get behind him or not, you sure will understand him. You’ll understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. Then, I think if we’re lucky and if done well, we can sort of accomplish the best thing I think a series like this can accomplish: we’ll force the audience to ask questions about themselves, about their own behavior, about the world. Look, that’s what we set out to do, and I hope we’re successful.
Not wanting to spoil any surprises, but when you got the job, were you hoping you were going to get to wear a skull on some sort of costume, body armor or t-shirt or something?
You know what man, I hope you don’t take this as being political, but every step along with way with this, I feel such an enormous — I’m extremely humbled to have this job. It’s an extraordinary honor for me. I take it as a responsibility the same way I would representing any soldier. This is a character that resonates deeply in the military and law enforcement. People have gone into war for this country with the Punisher logo attached to their armor, attached to their uniforms. That’s something that just really resonates with me and it goes right into my heart.
So as to those decisions, I divorced myself from all wanting this. My only want is to do the best job we possibly can to honor the character and to do it justice, and to pull no punches.
Prior to the TCAs, it was reported that Marvel and Netflix were currently developing a spin-off series for the character, and Entertainment Weekly followed up those reports by saying they were currently reaching out to potential showrunners. And while neither Netflix or Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb have confirmed these developments, it’s clear that it is something they are at least talking about. Speaking with Comic Book Resources, Bernthal said that going into this, the possibility of a spin-off wasn’t something he ever really considered.
Talk already started about a “Punisher” spinoff series. Did you enter something like this with the knowledge that it could go that way?
I really don’t. I really go into this just kind of looking at the job at hand. I mean, I’ll tell you that, again, this whole company here shrouded into secrecy. I don’t look at that, at first, where it was frustrating, I look at it now as: I love it. I love it. I don’t have to concern myself with it. It’s not my business. My business is the task at hand. But I will say, this is a character that resonates deeply with me. Like Frank Castle, I stand ready at attention.
For me, my concern here is what did we do this season? You watch Season One and it is just a kickass television show. I got the opportunity to play this character in Season Two of this television show, and that’s the Frank Castle that I’m concentrating on now. That’s the deal. You know what I mean?
Season two of Daredevil will hit Netflix on March 18th, 2016. As for news on the potential Punisher spin-off, you can follow all updates on that by following along here.
Source: Comic Book Resources.