Jon Bernthal is set to play Frank Castle when DAREDEVIL returns for a second season on Netflix. The actor sounds honored to be playing the character, and this is evidenced not by some sort of meaningless lip service, but by the thoughtfulness of what the character means to him and has meant for our heroes in the military and law enforcement.
In a chat with Comic Book Resources, Bernthal waxed poetic about the significance of the role, and whether or not he wants to don the iconic skull symbol:
"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."
On the subject of whether or not there were any particular plot lines from the comic books that resonated for him while trying to build the character:
"Absolutely. You can't get too entrenched with the storylines that you love because then you just want to put that -- it's not my job to write the show. But yeah. Look, Garth Ennis and the Punisher MAX series was huge for me. That's just in my line of what I dig, and that's the iteration of the character that resonated the most with me."
The actor then, again, got deep:
"But I've got to tell you, I think that being a father and a husband was sort of all the -- that's the major preparation. I think this guy lives in a world of darkness that no other person in this universe can compare with that. My goal here was to put myself in that darkness and bring it up and again, to never pull punches. To never do half measures. To never be apologetic. To never pursue likability at all. To be completely unapologetic at all times because this is a highly personal mission that this man is on, and I think that this show, I'm not just whistling dixie, I think that this show and what they accomplished with last season is a perfect fertile ground to bring a character like that to light. It's not a superhero show. It's a human show."
One of the things that fans of DAREDEVIL's first season enjoyed were the fights. The choreography of the fight scenes have been applauded, and Bernthal says there's much to look forward to:
"[...] What's so wonderful about Philip Silvera, the stunt coordinator, fight choreographer, there's no fighting just for the sake of fighting. I dare anybody to say that there's any stunt work or fight work on television that even comes close to comparing to this.
I've been in big features with great fight teams where we have six months of rehearsal to do one fight. This is television. We're racing a clock. We've got to get this in. It's so ambitious and they never scale back. They go for it and they get it done. The best thing I think about the choreography on the show is it's all character-driven and story-driven. Every punch, every kick, every way in which you deal with a weapon is character-based and story-based. So it's not as simple as just, 'Oh I've got to fight this guy.' There's a reason: 'What's my goal and what am I after? What am I going through and what's behind it?' What a pleasure."
Something else Bernthal spoke effusively about was the risky storytelling employed by the series' writers. He describes their process as being- appropriately- fearless. This came up when discussing how his character is introduced:
"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."
MARVEL'S DAREDEVIL is set to return to Netflix for your streaming pleasure on March 18.