Last week, Jon Bernthal, the star of the upcoming Netflix solo series The Punisher, did a recent interview with Moviefone.com. In it he talks about how he played The Mute, a silent monk, in the film Pilgrimage. And how he worked very hard to portray Frank Castle as someone who’s not too heroic in The Punisher.
“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.”
Honestly I don’t think Frank is an antagonist in any way. But he sure can get involved in rival battles between him and Matt Murdock, Spider-man, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and that stinkin’ Deadpool who is a real despicable antagonist who enjoys giving the Marvel Heroes, including Punisher, a hard time.
The Punisher is an anti-hero who only care about killing criminals and playing the harp. Nothing else. Many individuals who have their lives saved by Frank are put off by his unfriendly retorts when they try to thank him for saving their lives or comment about his harp playing. His act of shunning and putting off people maybe mean-spirited, but to him it’s for their own safety. Anyone who gets involved with The Punisher in any way will ultimately face death one way or another.
But that doesn’t mean he’ll never find a friend in one or two people. He has a special relationship with Karen Page, Matt’s personal secretary turned journalist who reminds Frank of his favorite daughter who got killed by criminals many months ago.
Frank admires Karen because she does stuff that Frank can easily relate to. In Season 1 of Daredevil, although she agrees with Matt that it is wrong to kill, she was forced to kill one of Kingpin’s men who kidnapped her. She did it to defend herself and escape from him. She probably killed a few other criminals as well. She never told Matt about it. But chances are she will tell Frank about what she did and so much more.
Like Frank, she served in the Marines before she became Matt’s personal secretary and is able to bring out a little bit of humanity that was left in Frank. To Frank, Karen is someone his favorite daughter would have grown up to become had she, her mom, and her brother lived to tell about it on that fateful day in Central Park.