No doubt about it, the latest season of DAREDEVIL turned out to be quite the hit with fans. It contained the same grit, heart, and action that the first season was well known for. In addition to all that, however, the season really put Daredevil's morals to the test with the vigilante known as the Punisher. Rather than beating baddies to a pulp and leaving them for law enforcement to take care of, the Punisher believes it more productive to straight-up kill these criminals so that they can't put anyone in harm's way ever again.
This clash in ideals by itself is almost perfect, but actor Jon Bernthal's nuanced performance as Frank Castle only added to the credibility of the character. Through his portrayal, we were able to see the drive and the damage inherent in the man's DNA. In a recent interview with Awards Daily, Bernthal talked about his familiarity with comics, the character, and what drives him as a whole.
First off, he was asked if he'd been a fan of DAREDEVIL prior to his playing Castle.
"To be honest, I really wasn’t. My first real exposure to the comic books and the comic book world was through THE WALKING DEAD. It was also an exposure to the comic book fans and their enthusiasm and how much it means to them. I had no idea how committed that fan base is. There’s something with comic books, and the medium requires so much imagination on the part of both the reader and audience. It ignites the imagination and gives the audience this sense of ownership of the characters and of these worlds. I think that’s a reason for the passion. I experienced it firsthand with THE WALKING DEAD. With this character, Frank Castle, I really dived into the comic book. I got a lot from the books and the research process was fun."
Bernthal went on to talk about what it was about the character that made him want to play him.
"I wasn’t desperately trying to get into the comic book world. [laughs] For me, it’s about the human being. He has no superpower. His superpower is his humanity. It’s his drive, his rage, and his loss. I could never have played this part if I weren’t a husband or father. Until you really understand what it’s like to love somebody more than yourself and to willingly give your life for them, only then can you understand what it would mean if they were taken from you.
I really dig this Netflix model of 13 episodes. All at once delivery system of material because it allows for real freedom in the way that you tell a story. You can be bold and take risks or abandon the audience and go very far. The way most of this material is digested all at once. They don’t have to wait 3 or 4 months to win the audience back to explain their actions. I really dig it."
On the fight scenes with the character:
"I think when you’re talking about characters like these, the way they fight, what’s motivating the fight is very important. Beating someone up to drag them into jail is different than someone who is exercising his rage on people. The Frank Castle you find in this story is not The Punisher. He’s reeling from the loss of his family. He’s driven by rage and is on a singular mission to find these people who took his family from him, and do it as brutally as possible."
Lastly, Bernthal talked about what surprised him most about Frank Castle:
"I think the relationship with Karen surprised me the most. It was a rare thing that can happen when you have a real collaboration between writers and actors. These writers and producers watch the dailies, they see things that were happening. You might not be able to put words to it, and they develop that. In the same way that there’s this connection between Frank and Karen and we never explain exactly what it is. I felt what it became was that I thought he looked at her as, this is the kind of woman his daughter could have become, bold and intelligent, and courageous, independent, bold and caring. I think he saw his daughter in her. I think as a man that swore off caring about anything besides his mission and completing it, I think he started to care about her, her well-being, and her opinion."
Not only was the character of the Punisher such a hit with fans, but he was such a hit that Marvel and Netflix decided to move forward with a full PUNISHER series. In an interview with Deadline, Bernthal expressed his excitement to revisit that character.
"I’m tremendously excited about it. I look at it as a real joy and a real responsibility and a real honor to play Frank Castle. I feel like he’s in my bones now and he’s in my heart. I’m ready to keep going with him. As far as what this show’s going to be, and what it’s going to be about, and when it’s going to shoot, and where it’s going to shoot and all that, unfortunately I don’t know anything. It’s kind of part and parcel with the way that Marvel works. Information is definitely on a need to know basis. I am nervous, and I just want to do this character and this world justice."
What are you looking forward to seeing in a PUNISHER series? Let us know in the comments down below!