The star of Netflix and Marvel's The Punisher has lived an interesting life that was once dominated by violence, though he's working hard to change.
In an interview with Esquire, Jon Bernthal spoke about his past and his attempts to keep his troubled past behind him. The actor specifically brought up one incident on the set of the 2006 film World Trade Center, directed by Oliver Stone.
In the movie, Bernthal played a Port Authority police officer, responding to the chaotic aftermath of the devastating terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.
Stone, a notoriously demanding filmmaker, was not too keen with Bernthal's performance at first. Esquire relays the story like so:
Stone rode Bernthal hard, and one day during filming he screamed that the actor’s takes were either too over-the-top or too tepid. Eventually, Stone walked over from the video village and shouted at Bernthal and a few other actors. “You are all so f*cking vain,” Stone said. He turned to Bernthal and jabbed a finger in his face. “And you are the worst.”
Bernthal responded by smacking the director's hand away and responding, "Let me tell you something, dude. You might be Oliver Stone, but I will beat your f*cking ass right here on this set. In front of everybody here, I will beat your ass. You got that?"
When Stone walked away, costar Nicolas Cage came over and said to Bernthal, "Wow, man, there was adversity and you threw more adversity at it."
The actor admitted in the interview that it made him feel terrible, as he'd fallen for one of Stone's set tricks.
"He was just trying to get me out of my comfort zone," Bernthal said. "I was young and stupid."
The piece does note that Bernthal and Stone became and remain friends, despite the intense situation. The actor recalls the moment as something to learn from, among others.
It's interesting that he now plays Frank Castle on the screen, one of the most violent characters from Marvel Comics' pantheon. But maybe his history with violence makes him suited to play the role.
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.