Over the past two weeks, Marvel and Netflix have ramped up promotion for the upcoming second season of Daredevil, having released the first of two trailers last week, as well as motion posters for Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), and the Punisher (Jon Bernthal). In the midst of this, Marvel also released an interview with Cox about the differences between the two seasons, as well as what he wanted going into season two. Now, they’ve turned their attention to one of the newer members of the cast, someone whose character will wreak havoc throughout Hell’s Kitchen – the Punisher himself, Jon Bernthal.
With a character like the Punisher, there’s no doubt that Bernthal had to get into a very dark headspace. For him, however, it wasn’t entirely hard to do as it isn’t entirely “new” to him in regards to the characters he has played. Bernthal also notes that he drew from being a father in real life, and not wanting to fail his own family, to help him shape the character.
Jon Bernthal: Well, I think that, fortunately and unfortunately, a dark headspace is nothing new to me. I have some experience with it in the characters that I’ve gotten to play and each one is so different and each one, I think, sort of requires its own process and its own method to get involved [in]. I will say that being a father and being a father of young kids, it’s a real game-changer for me. With a character like this, the trauma that he’s suffering from and what this man has gone through, I’m extremely grateful that this opportunity came to me after I was a father. I think it’s essential in playing the part and understanding what it would mean to fail your family in that way and to lose your family on your watch and how serious that is.
I think that another part is really trying to empathize and try to understand through every avenue that’s made available to you what it means to be a veteran of war and to see real war combat. This is a character that’s extremely important to the military and extremely important to members of law enforcement. This character, he means a lot to a lot of people. So there were a lot of days, in Brooklyn, when I first got there, [where I’d] be putting on fifty, sixty pound weights on my back and just walking back and forth over the Brooklyn Bridge, talking to myself. My own little crazy ways of getting into the character. This is a real responsibility and a real honor for me, and I just hope [with] all the hard work, that we got some of it right.
One of the highlights of the first season was how well the series handled a character like Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). They made it so that viewers empathized with him and were constantly questioning who was right and who was wrong when it came to Fisk & Daredevil. Going into season two, it looks as though we can expect the same with the Punisher. When asked how he planned on “finding sympathy” for the character, Bernthal stated he made sure to “move forward one hundred percent” – to make it feel genuine.
Jon Bernthal: For me, it’s to be completely unapologetic and to move forward one hundred percent and not concern yourself. One of the beauties of television is that you have enough time that you don’t need to play everything in every moment. When you’re involved in something that’s very brutal and you know your audience is going to abandon you because of your actions, don’t shy away from that. Just do it. Don’t make it a half-measure; don’t take your foot off the accelerator. Go full force, and trust that you will have the opportunity down the road to show why [you did that].
You have to be bold enough to risk losing the audience. I think you just have to do that with a character like this and the great thrill for me, of playing a character on television, is the ability to lose them and win them back. Lose them and win them back and go full out. It was a constant sort of effort with me that if I fought for anything this season, that’s what I really fought for, is to be bold enough to stand or to risk losing the audience and to go full out, because I knew at the end of the day where this guy was coming from was a genuine place.
You can binge-watch the second season of Daredevil on March 18th, but until then, you can happily re-watch the first season, as well as the first season of the equally excellent Jessica Jones now!
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