Jon Bernthal carved himself quite a path to superstardom starting with his major impact on the network-defining series The Walking Dead on AMC then following up on the Netflix megahit Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series The Punisher as its title character aka Frank Castle. The actor also amassed quite an impressive string of film credits including supporting roles in critically-acclaimed films like The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Baby Driver (2017), and Ford V. Ferrari (2019). While promoting his latest film King Richard, the actor opened up to The Hollywood Reporter on The Punisher's future with screen rights reverting back into Disney since its Netflix cancellation in 2019.
"[The Punisher], in particular, has real, real, real deep, deep meaning for me and resonance in me. He's really in my heart, man," Bernthal said. "He's really in my bones. I'm enormously protective of that character. I've said before that there's nothing in this world more important to me than my wife and my kids, and only until you understand that kind of love and what it really means to willingly die for somebody, [do you understand] what it would be like if somebody took them from you."
The Darkness Bernthal Went Through as The Punisher
The Netflix Defender shows which also included Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were distinctly darker than the current live-action Disney+ MCU series. With rumors rampant of antagonist Wilson Fisk/Kingpin making his possible return in Hawkeye and actor Vincent D'Onofrio remaining cryptic, the window is open for Bernthal's return. "That's a road and a darkness and a rage that really, really scares me and brings me to places that I've worked the last 20 years to get away from. So I was really grateful, respectful, and weary of the places where that role took me and the world in which I had to live in. That being said, that's where that character needs to be. It needs to be a level of darkness. I think if there's any let up on that character, you do a disservice to the character, to every iteration of the character, to every comic book that's come before, and to all of the unbelievable fans of the character. This character means so much to people in the military. So like I said before, it's not about whether you do the character; it's about whether you can do it right, and I'm only interested in doing it right."
King Richard is currently in theaters and on HBO Max. For more on Bernthal's career, you can go to THR.