The Punisher Star Jon Bernthal Doesn’t Have “Any Desire” to Move Off of Frank Castle

The Punisher star Jon Bernthal doesn’t have “any desire” to move off of military man-turned-armed vigilante Frank Castle despite Netflix’s cancellation of the Marvel series. The streaming giant, once home to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and limited series The Defenders, cancelled all of its Marvel Television-backed productions between October and February, implementing a reported two-year no-use clause benching Bernthal’s Punisher, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, and Finn Jones’ Danny Rand for at least 24 months post-cancellation. Following Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s ascendancy to the role of Marvel Chief Creative Officer, a position giving him authority over Marvel Television, it’s unclear which actors will be retained if or when Marvel Studios reboots or relaunches the formerly Netflix-based series.

Appearing at Fandemic Tour Houston over the weekend, Bernthal said he’s not eyeing any one Marvel or DC character and is open to talks if “something cool came around.”

“Sh-t, I don’t know,” Bernthal said when asked which DC Comics character he might want to play. “I don’t know, I really don’t know. I really don’t know. And I think a lot of it, people ask me all the time, ‘How do you pick stuff, and what do you want to play?’”

The rugged-looking Bernthal explained he goes where he fits.

“There’s nobody who comes up here and does this for a living that didn’t struggle for a long time, and didn’t have a lot of doors slammed in their face. And I had every kind of door you can imagine slammed in my face,” he said. “I got a giant-ass nose, I got big ol’ floppy ears, people are like, ‘It is never gonna work for you.’ I remember going into auditions and casting directors never even looking up from their phone, and they wanted nothing to do with me. That’s hard. There’s times where you go long periods of time, the phone doesn’t ring, and I know what that’s like. It’s a reality of this kind of work. But the cool thing is, that great thing, that great job, that great love, that’s out there.”

“I don’t know what’s out there, and that’s part of the thing that I love about it. I don’t know what the next great thing is, so I don’t have my eyes on, ‘I want to play the Hulk,’ or some sh-t like that,” he continued. “If something comes to me, and it’s written well, and it’s with people I really want to roll with, I’m gonna roll. And if it’s not, I’m not gonna do it. … I don’t have my eyes on any of them, but if something cool came around, let’s talk about it.”

Bernthal, who previously expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play Castle in the sophomore season of Daredevil and two seasons of his own series, hopes to stay on in that role should Marvel choose to move forward with the character.

“I love Frank, too,” Bernthal said. “I really don’t have any desire to move off of him.”

Asked about online rumblings Bernthal might transition into the Marvel Cinematic Universe under Feige’s purview, Bernthal admitted with a laugh, “I mean, you know I can’t talk about that.”

“And like, by the way, honestly, y’all will know before me. They don’t tell me sh-t,” he added. “It’s all about Frank. He needs to be portrayed in a very certain way, in my opinion, and he means so much to so many people in the comic book community, and the law enforcement community, and the military community. In my opinion, you don’t just do a Punisher, you don’t just do a Frank Castle thing, you know? You gotta do it right, and you gotta respect what he stands for, what he’s all about. To me, if that works out, then I’ll jump in with everything I have. And if not, I’m not gonna.”

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When a followup question prompted Bernthal to reveal if he wants to play a hero or a villain should he join the MCU, his answer was simple: “I want to play Frank Castle.”

All seasons of Daredevil and The Punisher are available for streaming on Netflix. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.