We went on set of the Netflix show about the kill-crazy vigilante, and watched him murder a bowl of pho.
on the kind of Brooklyn winter’s day that makes the rats in the walls think twice before peeking out, and Empire has come to watch the Punisher — the most feared killing machine in comic books — do some actual, honest-to-goodness punishing.
He’s the kind of man whose body counts are so high you can only keep track with a body accountant. But currently, he’s sitting on the floor of a warehouse, nursing a beer, remembering how he met his wife while playing guitar under a tree in Central Park. “Changed my life,” smiles Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, and takes a sip. The only things being punished here are the heartstrings. Do not adjust your Netflix connection. The
Punisher, the show that sees Bernthal’s vigilante strut his solo stuff after making a bloody splash in Daredevil Season 2, hasn’t gone soft. Bernthal, who prepped to play Castle by going on long walks through Manhattan in the small hours with a backpack and a don’t-fuck-with-me glare, won’t suddenly be busking, like a psycho Ed Sheeran.
We’re witnessing a key scene in a mid-season episode, where Castle and his tech guy, Micro
(Girls’ Ebon Moss-bachrach), stop planning to kill the bad guys and focus on matters of the heart. Specifically, how they met their wives. “Part of this season for Frank is [about how] he’s built this wall around his heart,” says Bernthal. “He’s starting to care about things, and people.” But this 13-episode series, the first non
Defenders venture for Netflix and Marvel, is all about Castle, a bottomless pit of fury after his wife and kids were killed, deciding to do a lot of you-know-what. “It’s the only thing that silences the demons, temporarily,” says Bernthal of Castle. “There’s going to be an attempt to move beyond the Punisher, but that’s something he can’t shake. There’s part of me that’s hungry to get back into the darkness, that’s excited to see it fall apart. And I’ll go back to my long walks.” That body accountant better get a new calculator.