Exclusive: Jon Bernthal Talks Sicario, Marvel, & The Walking Dead

This weekend, Jon Bernthal pops up in Denis Villeneuve's drug war thriller, Sicario.

Before Sicario hits theaters, though, I had the chance to talk with The Walking Dead alum and soon-to-be Punisher about his part in the film. Check it out below!


CB: First of all, I have to ask, how was it filming a brawl with Emily Blunt?

JB: It was great, man. I can't say enough about Emily, man. She was just totally game to go for it. I just kind of showed up for the scenes that I'm in, it's a small part, but the scenes that I'm in we went full octane and she really pushed me to feel comfortable and to go for it. We really wanted to make that fight as dirty and as real as possible. I feel like that's what talented people do. They let you go for it and try to push it and Emily was just awesome. It's bad-ass. She's a bad-ass.

Yeah, she really takes a few beatings in Sicario.

Yeah, again, it says a lot about her. She's one of the greatest people I've ever worked with in my life. It was only a couple days but she blew me away how down she was and how game she was.

If we take a look at the roles you've played, there seems to be something they all have in common - they are for the most part, bad guys, but somehow you still make them likable. What draws you into these parts and how do you pull that off?

I don't know about likable. I don't know if I get the chance to make them likable, it's just really important that no matter what role you're playing, you're doing what you're doing for a reason. There has to be a motivation behind it. I think that everybody who does something is doing it for a reason that's important to them. Great filmmakers and great artists out there allow actors to add a third-dimension to their work and that was definitely the case here. Often times in a small film, it's sort of like a set piece, you know? I'm there service the story and just kind of come in and be that sleazy guy and we create backstory and here it's this guy who is in way over his head and it's all spiraling out of control and getting away from him. It's so much more interesting because people can relate with that. I don't think it's about likable. I think it's about being a character that people can say, "Wow, I've felt like that before," or "I know somebody like that." I think people can relate to that character. With the villains I've played it's been really important to me to never once look at them as a villain and to treat them and what they're trying to do with a little respect. Have them doing everything for a reason they find noble. Then you can sympathize with whatever they do no matter how dark or how evil it is.

There was a scene where it was three Marvel Universe heavy hitters in the same car, with you being the Punisher, Benicio del Toro being The Collector, and Josh Brolin being Thanos. Even Emily Blunt being one of the fan-favorites for Captain Marvel. Did you guys ever talk about Marvel work on set?

We didn't then. That was while I was kind of closing the whole thing. Look, man, to work with those guys was a complete honor. I'm a huge fan of all three of the people you mentioned. I think I walked away from that with Emily as one of my favorite actresses of all time, just blown away by her. And Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro are two of my favorite actors. They're like a dying breed. Real men. Real American men that just crush it every time they're out there. I was so lucky to have a scene with those guys. I was just so honored to throw down with them. It was just unbelievable for me.

Can you talk about The Punisher at all?

I can't. It's an honor to be tackling such a role. That's all I can say.

Can I ask if you're going to be wearing that skull logo we all want to see so badly?

You can ask! But I can't answer. [Laughs]

No worries. But I do have one you can answer. Norman Reedus voiced the Punisher once. If you're two Punisher met, who wins in a fight?

Look, outside of my family, there's nobody in this world I love like Norman Reedus. I love that dude with everything I got. But his Punisher couldn't touch my Punisher.

I do want to ask a quick Walking Dead question though, are you still current with it?

I am. Like I said, Norman is my family. He's one of my best friends. A lot of those guys down there on that show - the cast and crew - I love them. Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln, Steve Yeun, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeffrey DeMunn, you know... Scott [Wilson]... I always support the show. I love the show. I love the producer, Gale Anne Hurd, too. Yeah, I'm a huge fan. I love being a fan. I'll always watch it, I love it. I care about the plot.

Here's to hoping we get another Shane Walsh cameo.

I will, too, man! I love it.

So, what's next for Jon Bernthal after Daredevil and after Sicario comes out?

You know, man, this is kind of my world right now. I'm crazy busy and I have three little babies that I barely get to see. I'm going to try and catch up with my kids!


Sicario hits theaters this weekend. Be sure to check out my review if the film if you haven't yet decided to go see it!