The superhero genre has changed a lot over the years. With studios initially afraid to take risks with the many characters out there, a lot of superhero adaptations didn’t work out the first time around. This was unfortunately the case for Thomas Jane, who played Frank Castle aka the titular character in the 2004 film The Punisher.
He recently participated in an interview with MovieWeb to discuss his time working on the 2004 film and how things have changed today. For example, he noted that his film seems to have been a bit ahead of its time – just before the release of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
“Our movie, The Punisher, came out in 2004, before The Dark Knight, which was gritty and gothic and noirish. Christopher Nolan proved that people would show up for a movie like that,” he explained. “In 2004, nobody believed that this was a thing that comic book movie fans wanted to see. They were wrong. I knew they were wrong. I fought for a different version of Castle.”
With that in mind, he also thinks it might be too late for the character now. In particular, Thomas Jane doesn’t feel like the Punisher brand has a future under Disney. While he hopes he’s wrong, he doesn’t believe Disney is “willing to go much further.”
“I don’t see a future for Castle. Marvel was bought by Disney. Disney is willing to take things to a certain place, but they’re not willing to go much further. I think that the real noirish, gritty, realist aspect of the anti-hero, it’s not going to be well served [by Disney]. I could be wrong, and I hope I am wrong. But, you know, the real version of Frank hasn’t really been put on film yet.”
He does believe, however, that the Dirty Laundry fan film he acted in is the ultimate adaptation of the character so far. It’s also safe to say that many fans would agree with his statement. As he explained:
“Fans of the Punisher who haven’t seen my short film called Dirty Laundry, go check it out on YouTube,” Jane says, “and watch my take on Frank Castle. I’m very proud of that, you know, that was something I put together probably 10 years ago now. And it has stood the test of time. That’s really, I think, the closest iteration of the Punisher that we’ve got on film so far.”
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with The Punisher going forward – even if Thomas Jane is no longer attached to the iconic Marvel character.