Jon Bernthal has stated on a number of occasions that he holds Frank Castle very close to his heart, and he’s still not given up on the idea of returning as the Punisher somewhere down the line. He’s not the only actor to have fallen in love with the comic book vigilante after being cast in the role, though, and fans also remember Thomas Jane’s spin on the character fondly.
Admittedly, the 2004 movie wasn’t great, but Jane was committed to the part and did a solid job in the lead. Unfortunately, however, the plot and script were about as formulaic as it gets, while moving the action from the seedy underbelly of New York City to the more tropical climate of Tampa for budgetary reasons was hardly reflective of the Punisher’s origins.
After making less than $55 million at the box office on a $34 million budget, plans for a sequel were canceled and the antihero was rebooted with Ray Stevenson stepping in for the insanely overblown yet perversely enjoyable War Zone. That bombed spectacularly, and then Netflix got involved and parachuted Bernthal into their Marvel universe.
Jane did return in 2012 short Dirty Laundry, though, which received a pretty good reception from fans, and had people calling to see more of him in the role. The 51 year-old also helmed his first feature Dark Country back in 2009 and directs an upcoming episode of The Expanse‘s fifth season, and in a recent interview, he put forward the meta idea of him getting behind the camera to work with Jon Bernthal on a future Punisher project.
“If the fans really wanted me back, and we could find a script. See, I think the Punisher, and the reason why I did the short, was that it hasn’t fully been cracked in a way that fully honors the character, Frank Castle, in a film. And I love what Bernthal did on Netflix. I think he’s such a great Punisher. In fact, I would love to direct a Punisher starring Bernthal, because he’s such a great actor.”
Dark Country was certainly an ambitious effort from a first-time director even if the execution was a little off, while The Expanse is one of the best looking shows on TV and it’ll be interesting to see how Jane’s episode turns out. All that being said, the idea of reuniting two former Punisher stars on either side of the camera still seems a little far-fetched.