When it comes to signing onto a major superhero project, it can’t be an easy decision. Chris Evans has said that he nearly turned down the role of Captain America because of his anxiety. The genre still has a bad reputation with its multiple picture deals and locking people into huge contracts. It turns out that hesitation is there for the TV superheroes, as well. Jon Bernthal recently spoke to Variety for their podcast Remote Controlled and he talked about how he almost turned the role of the Punisher down.
“Fully candid, being part of a superhero franchise was not something that I really had an ambition towards; it wasn’t really on my radar,” he says. “A lot of the people that I really admire, actors that I really look up to have avoided that whole thing.”
It turned out that a little research into the character changed Bernthal’s mind.
“He didn’t have any super (powers); he didn’t have a mask,” he says. “He was a grieving father and husband who was reeling from this unbelievably traumatic event. There was something about that that scared the you-know-what out of me and left me intrigued.”
Bernthal wasn’t given his own series right away; he was instead introduced in Daredevil season 2. After working on that series, it really helped solidify for him that he made the right call.
“Seeing the liberty and the time that Charlie Cox was given — in the first episode he delivers this monologue. There’s so much patience,” says Bernthal. “You don’t see that much on TV and especially in that genre. They give the performance time to breathe and you get to know who the guy really is. And then I saw Vincent D’Onofrio do his thing. This is a world I want to play in.”
Considering how well his performance was received in both the second season of Daredevil and his solo series, it sounds like Bernthal made the right call saying “yes”.
Summary: After the murder of his family, Frank Castle becomes a vigilante known as “the Punisher”, who aims to fight crime by any means necessary.
The Punisher, from showrunner Steve Lightfoot, stars Jon Bernthal, Jason R. Moore, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Michael Nathanson, Jamie Ray Newman, and Amber Rose Revah. It is streaming to Netflix now.