Jon Bernthal made a career of playing “the bad guy”. He’s been Shane in The Walking Dead, Brax in The Accountant, and now, he’s the Punisher. That’s quite the reputation. Like most actors, Bernthal had minor roles in sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and dramas like Law & Order. He gained more notability once cast in the AMC Series The Walking Dead. When it was announced he’d be playing one of Marvel’s most notorious characters, Mr. Bernthal dove in head first. GQ sat down with him and allowed him the chance to tell his story on how he became the Punisher.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Jon learned the streets were not always kind. Jon’s been in his share of fights; has gotten mugged, beat up, and locked up. His acting career didn’t start until college, and it was by mistake. Having signed up for the wrong class, he fabricated his first assignment that left the whole class crying.
I had baseball practice right after class, so I grabbed my catcher’s glove and launched into this story about how my mom had given me this glove on her deathbed and how me and my brother would sometimes have a catch. Of course, my mom was alive and well in D.C. But I’m telling this story, and I look around the room, and everyone’s crying their eyes out, and I’m crying my eyes out.
Jon Bernthal’s life and career have been dictated by grit and honesty. In GQ‘s interview, he’s quoted in saying “I have no interest in being pretty.” His nose has been broken over a dozen times from his days of boxing. There’s no attempt to cover this up. His main feature is front and center. And he’s a method actor. He’s been yelled at for his sex scene in The Walking Dead and spent months practically living in a tank for Fury.
Portraying a superhero was not something Jon Bernthal was originally interested in. But, he’s the Punisher now and Frank Castle is here to stay. As a man who has lost everything, Castle resonates with Bernthal. The man has gone out, bought the comic books and done his homework. A character who was simply a secondary character in Daredevil‘s second season was so incredibly popular that now he has his own show. Doing this character justice is something obviously important to Mr. Bernthal and from his work as The Punisher, he’s gained a respect for the fans who support him.
The Punisher is reported to come out on Netflix late 2017 and filming is already underway. Be sure to watch Jon Bernthal (aka the big-hearted bad guy) then.