Frank Grillo, who portrayed double agent Brock Rumlow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War before reprising his role in Avengers: Endgame, says he's "outgrowing" the "Marvel and superhero thing" and no longer desires to play the Punisher. The Purge and Billions actor first expressed his interest in the role after joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014, before Jon Bernthal was announced as Frank Castle in the sophomore season of Netflix series Marvel's Daredevil. After playing S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltrator Rumlow — who was revealed as a HYDRA agent in Winter Soldier before he returned as masked villain Crossbones in Civil War — Grillo is targeting other roles:
"That's not in my trajectory now. It's not where my life is taking me anymore, and my friend Jonny Bernthal did an amazing job," the 55-year-old actor told Uproxx when asked if he maintained interest in the Punisher role. "My life and what I want to do is much different now, and I think I'm outgrowing that whole kind-of Marvel and superhero thing."
Grillo and his The Grey director Joe Carnahan have teamed for production company WarParty, behind Netflix's Wheelman and Point Blank, and the Carnahan-directed Boss Level.
On moving away from Marvel, Grillo added, "Joe and I have a really good little company in WarParty, and we're concentrating on action thrillers that are responsibly budgeted, and we're very busy, knock wood, and we'll go down the path of creating our own material and content and having a good time."
Bernthal was the latest actor to portray a live-action Frank Castle following turns by Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson. Bernthal appeared in Daredevil before headlining two seasons of Marvel's The Punisher, ended by Netflix as part of a slew of cancellations that closed out its corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kevin Feige and Disney-owned Marvel Studios have not revealed plans for the character. Following reports characters from Netflix's Marvel shows are prohibited from appearing elsewhere until two years post-cancellation, Marvel is expected to be able to use the Punisher some time after February 2021.
"For me, with Frank, it's really not whether we do it again or not, or whether I play him again or not, it's about doing it right," Bernthal told Entertainment Weekly in November 2019. "I just care so much about getting him right, and that's kind of where it begins and ends with me. I just give want to give the folks whom he means so much to the Frank Castle that they deserve. That's sort of where I'm at with it. I love Frank. I always have, I always will."