'The Punisher': Jon Bernthal Says He's Not a Role Model to Veterans, Instead They Are a Role Model to Him

Of the many reasons that Marvel's The Punisher has earned a passionate following of fans, one is Jon Bernthal's performance as a veteran coping with the adjustment to civilian life after witnessing countless atrocities on the battlefield. The actor recently detailed how much he owes to real-life veterans for the inspiration they have given him.

"Oh sh-t, I ain’t a role model, they’re role models to me man!" Bernthal shared with FanSided when asked about his performance inspiring veterans. "I mean that’s super humbling and I appreciate that. That’s the best part of the job is the friendships. Like when I’ll be talking to Sergeant Freddie Joe Farnsworth before I’m about to do crazy marine stuff in a scene. You know, it’s the relationships and the fact that these guys kind of open up to me."

Bernthal debuted as Frank Castle in the second season of Marvel's Daredevil before he was given his own spinoff series. Between Castle's storyline and the actor's portrayal, audiences immediately connected with the character and the ways in which he struggled more with the mental and emotional trauma he suffered in battle than the physical setbacks.

The actor went on to detail how his performance has opened up all-new connections with his fans, given how veterans connect with Castle as compared to your casual viewer.

"I think any time a vet opens up to you, not just sort of welcomes you into their world and teaches you how to shoot or use a weapon, or teaches you how guys talk to each other," Bernthal explained. "But when they really start to open up and talk about their experience. That’s a treasure. I really cherish that, and I appreciate that."

Given the Punisher's predilection towards deadly weapons, Bernthal regularly has to act in scenes featuring simulated gunfire. While these situations don't pose any physical danger to the actor, he often opts to make the potential psychological threats as authentic as possible.

"I really try to connect to it and put it into the work. At the end of the day, look man, I’m a monkey who puts on makeup and says lines for a living. You know?" Bernthal admitted. "We can get injured on set but it’s pretty safe. We operate under an umbrella of safety. And so for me, I try to make it as psychologically dangerous as possible. I try to take it as seriously as possible for those guys. And if they are in fact saying that, I’m deeply appreciative and it’s deeply humbling."

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You can check out the second season of The Punisher when it lands on Netflix this Friday.

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