Jon Bernthal, who currently stars as Frank Castle on The Punisher, no longer watches the Walking Dead zombie drama which catapulted him to fame.
"I have to be honest, I haven’t kept up with that show," Bernthal told Independent. "But it marked a real high point, not just in my career but in my life. I got engaged around then, I got married just after season one, had my son during season two. That group of people, that original core group, it was a very humble beginning."
Bernthal knows a thing or two about humble beginnings by now. After The Walking Dead, he would debut on Daredevil as Marvel's Punisher character before going on to get a standalone series which was recently renewed for a second season.
"We did not know what we were getting into," Bernthal said of Walking Dead. "We all believed in the script and dived in with everything we had. It wasn’t a show with a big budget. Who knew it would be what it would be? That group got unbelievably close and are still the group of actors I’m by far closest with, than anything else I’ve ever done. We’re part of each other’s lives, each other’s families. To play a character with a real beginning and end, on a show that popular, that was an unbelievable part. It wasn’t like I was inundated with offers after, but that was the experience that changed my life. I started getting into rooms, getting opportunities that were completely different to what I had done. It wasn’t even like my first gig. I’ll always be grateful to them for hiring me. That show set the tone for some of your characters ever since. How do you feel about that?"
Though he hasn't been on The Walking Dead in years, Bernthal will never forget the characteristics of his character which he liked the most. "What I liked about Shane and that part was you couldn’t pin him down," Bernthal said. "There were really conflicting emotions at hand. He wasn’t a villain or good guy. There were real reasons and motivation behind the sometimes deplorable things he did. He really lived by a code. He was the first guy who really discovered what living in that world really meant. I do want that with all my characters. The kind of people who are one way then become someone else, bold enough to turn their back on the audience. I loved with Shane that one week you could be with him and the next against him. If there’s that richness to any of the characters I play, I find myself very lucky."
The Punisher Season 1 is available now on Netflix. The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.