Before he suits up as the Punisher once more for Daredevil: Born Again, Jon Bernthal teamed up with ex-Marvel actor Thomas Jane.
On the Instagram account for Taran Tactical Innovations, Bernthal tests out the weapons manufacturers’ inventory alongside Jane who originally played Frank Castle in 2004’s The Punisher. Bernthal and Jane spent the day testing their firearm skills on the range by shooting targets with an assortment of handguns and assault rifles. The video marks the very first time that Marvel fans get to see two Punisher actors come face-to-face in real life.
Jane was the second actor to step into Frank Castle’s shoes after Dolph Lundgren’s first shot at the role in 1989’s The Punisher. Under the direction of Jonathan Hensleigh, 2004’s The Punisher re-imagined Castle as a retired FBI agent whose entire family is gunned down in Puerto Rico by the henchmen of Tampa mob boss Howard Saint (John Travolta). Donning a skull-emblazoned T-shirt given to him by his ill-fated son, Castle returns to the States as the revenge-driven vigilante hellbent on taking Saint down. Reviews for The Punisher skewed negative and the film only grossed $54.7 million worldwide on a $33 million budget.
The Punisher’s Long Road to On-Screen Success
Upon strong DVD sales of The Punisher, Jane was initially set to reprise the role for 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, however, creative differences led to the actor leaving the sequel and being replaced by Ray Stevenson. In 2012, Jane co-wrote and starred in the fan-produced short film The Punisher: Dirty Laundry which the actor considered his true vision for the character. Bernthal would later cite the fan film as a source of inspiration for his take on the Punisher when he was cast in Daredevil Season 2 in 2016 followed by his stand-alone series which ran from 2017 to 2019 on Netflix.
While he vowed never to play the Punisher again after Dirty Laundry, Jane expressed great admiration for Bernthal’s performance and shared his interest in directing a Punisher movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “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,” Jane said.
Bernthal will be back as the Punisher in the MCU when Daredevil: Born Again comes to Disney+ in 2024.
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