There’s a reason why characters like The Punisher are so hard to pull off. While we all like to empathize with likable characters, it’s not always easy to do so when the characters continue to do objectionable things. Hollywood knows this, and as such, works hard to create characters that audiences could actually click with. But that doesn’t always work. Sometimes, a character that’s comprised primarily of flaws is best portrayed as such.
Such was the case with Jon Bernthal’s the Punisher, who audiences were introduced to in 2016 in the hit Netflix series, Daredevil. While Frank Castle’s motivations for going rogue were understandable, the series never went so far as to glorify it. Make no mistake, he was still something of a loose cannon — one that couldn’t necessarily be trusted. When news hit that the Punisher would be getting his own spinoff series, we were both excited and worried. We were excited to see this fantastic take on Frank Castle go even further, but worried that they may water down his character.
It sounds like this is something even Jon Bernthal had trouble with. Speaking with Moviefone, he expressed the difficulty they had in making sure Frank didn’t come off as too heroic.
“It’s an interesting predicament. To put [the Punisher] as the central character is interesting, I think that my big struggle with him is that one of my biggest kind of things that I’m always fighting for on set is, I always want to preserve the essence of Frank, and have the right and be bold enough to really turn my back on the audience, and not do things to win the audience’s favor, but rather stay true to the character and the essence of who he is.
“So I think that’s the real challenge: being bold enough to not make him too heroic, at least ‘heroic,’ is important to me. That being said, I think there’s Frank Castle inside of everybody, I think being a father and being a husband, he’s a character that I deeply empathize with.”
At the very least, it’s great to hear that they’re aware of this. Had they gone in fully confident that they could pull it off — with no acknowledgement of this potential problem, then I’d be concerned. The Punisher is one of those characters where you have to balance between his good intentions and his overzealous actions.
What do you think of Bernthal’s comments? Do you think this is a potential problem for the series? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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