SPOILERS FOR THE PUNISHER, OBVIOUSLY
2017 brought us a plethora of amazing Marvel content, both on the film and television side. Not only was The Punisher one of the best Marvel shows of last year, but it was arguably the most well received show that Marvel has ever done! Recently MCUExchange had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Nathanson, who played Homeland Security agent Sam Stein in the series, to ask him a couple questions about his time on the critically acclaimed show.
Funny enough, I originally auditioned for the role of Micro! I got this scene between this sort of funny, quirky guy and a heavy, intense dude in a diner. I knew that it was a Marvel show but I didn’t really know what show it was. And I remember reading this scene and thinking, ‘This seems like Micro and Frank Castle!’ So, I went in and I didn’t get the part of Micro, and I was pretty upset. Then I got a call only a couple weeks later and the casting director says, ‘So we have this other part which we think fits you better.’
The character of Sam Stein would go on to play a very important role in the show. In episode 8, Sam is tragically killed by Billy Russo (played by Ben Barnes). His brutal death not only ignited Russo’s full transformation into the villainous ‘Jigsaw’, but it also served to motivate Agent Madani played by Amber Rose Revah. When asked about this scene, Nathanson remarked on the bittersweet passing of his character:
It was hard! But it has become such an iconic death, so it’s a double-edged sword. I knew I was leaving the show after this unless Force-Ghosts happen in the Marvel Universe (They are all owned by Disney). It was very cold! We shot that in the dead of winter and there was a lot of blood. There were blood pumps all inside my costume and it was pretty brutal. I had to lay in that blood for a really long time! I think everyone on set was just kind of grossed out and sad. But Ben’s such a sweet guy. The whole time he was apologizing like, ‘I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry I have to do this!’ And I’m like, ‘Come on man, it’s all good! Stab me!’
Some fans have wondered if Sam and Madani had some sort of romantic connection in the series, and thanks to Nathanson we have the answer! Get your fan-fiction ready!
As the relationship progressed through the episodes I actually let that idea creep into my performance! If I had stuck around a little bit longer I think something probably might have happened. I think deep down Agent Madani has always been attracted to more dangerous men. But for me, I definitely had that layered into my performance. In that last moment where I’m fading out and I’m desperately trying to tell her what I just saw, there’s a moment where I surrender and tell her with my eyes how much I love her. She chose wrong, let’s just say that!
Now, here’s where things get super interesting. When asked about his future work, Nathanson let slip that he will be returning to work with Marvel on another project in the near future:
I do have some stuff cooking with Marvel that I can’t really talk about yet. Let’s just say that my relationship with Marvel is not as dead as Sam Stein is…”
Now there’s any number of projects that he could be working on, but if I were a betting man I’d say that his mystery role has something to do with voice work in an animated property. We shall see!
For fans who want to meet Nathanson in person, there is good news! He will be touring several Comicon’s over the coming months and would like to make an appearance at as many conventions as possible. If you’d like the chance to chat with the actor yourself, follow him on Twitter and reach out to your local conventions. You might just get to hang out with a fan favorite character from one of Marvel’s greatest TV shows yet!
Find Michael on Instagram and Twitter: