Gareth Evans' 2011 martial arts action flick The Raid became an international hit that has now spawned an American remake. Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, Smokin' Aces) will be directing Hollywood's version of The Raid, and helping him with scripting duties is actor/writer Adam G. Simon (Point Blank). Comicbook.com's Nick Floyd had a chance to speak with Simon recently, and managed to uncover an interesting little insight: Adam Simon once got to pitch a Punisher movie to Marvel! If you want the details of what Simon had planned for a cinematic version of The Punisher, check out the interview below!
ComicBook.com: ...HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN A FAN OF THE PUNISHER?
Adam G. Simon: "Always. I read every one. I grew up in a world where the guilty people in my life went unpunished. So the whole vigilante persona was therapeutic to read. The first comic of The Punisher that I read was Circle Of Blood. It blew me away, I became obsessed. I went to the comic shop, asked friends, looked everywhere for every Punisher comic I could get my hands on."
DID YOU EVER PITCH THE PUNISHER AS A WRITER?
"Yes. Years before the series dropped. It was that strange "Dirty Laundry" transition time for Frank Castle... I appreciated the hyper-stylized, big stick approach of War Zone and the Thomas Jane version of Frank Castle in the feature, but I think that the series really nailed it. At least with casting Jon Bernthal. He IS Frank Castle and is such an incredible talent... While I loved the series, I think that it limited what Bernthal was allowed to do with the character. When I see Bernthal as Frank Castle in that series, I see an Olympic sprinter running while being forced to wear a giant weight vest. I want Bernthal to continue to explore the character and be completely unfettered and out of control. I think he does too."
WHAT DID YOUR INITIAL PITCH LOOK LIKE?
"Like Falling Down by way of Full Metal Jacket."
DO YOU STILL HAVE THE SAME TAKE OR IS IT DIFFERENT?
"I put together the opening fifteen pages, the pitch deck, everything. Then, the series came. That changes things. Going back and retelling the origin story would be a mistake (my opinion). I think you build off of what has been built. It's a very sick obsession that I have with The Punisher, so my hobby is an ever-evolving pitch document that changes with each attempt Hollywood makes at the character. Now, it's a whole different animal."
"You got to let this thing live in R-Rated territory and it has to have the same grit and unapologetic boldness of Logan. In my take, we find Frank Castle as we left him at the end of the series, only now completely aware of the threat that superheroes and villains pose to mankind. So, Frank Castle has to go gunning for the person who he feels is responsible for the innumerable civilian casualties. The one who started it all by organizing these weapons of mass destruction to come together. Nick Fury. The twist is that Frank is being used, he spots the double-cross early at the end of act one. From that point on, we have a 3:10 to Yuma situation. Frank and Fury on the run from everyone, heroes and villains. It's 3:10 to Yuma meets Leon: The Professional by way of Winter Soldier."
SO THEN WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN YOUR VERSION?
"First, since he was so pissed about it getting canceled, you get Eminem on board for the music and the soundtrack. Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Joel Edgerton as Bullseye, Kristin Scott Thomas or Edie Falco as Ma Gnucci, Jeffry Wright or Russell Crowe as Micro, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury and a few of The Avengers, namely, Falcon, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier. Oh, and since we are talking obscene amounts of violence and mayhem, you get Joe Lynch directing. If fans got a problem with that hot take, I got seven others. Let's go."
For now, The Punisher franchise is on the back-burner along with the rest of the Marvel Netflix characters (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist). That creative limbo also means there's a window of opportunity: The Punisher is due for a soft-reboot within the full-fledged Marvel Cinematic Universe; since the series has done a thorough job setting up Frank Castle's origin and evolution into The Punisher, an event film like the one Simon is pitching isn't a half bad idea...
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1st, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier August 20th, The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision on December 20th, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.