Could This Be The New Punisher?
Chris Warner is The Punisher
I had driven from Santa Monica to a town about an hour away because I absolutely had to see what all the fuss was about. I was greeted by the Director’s Assistant and led back to where the filming was taking place. As I arrived on the scene I snapped a great shot of a small refrigerator that read, “Punisher Water” (see below). I had to have some of that! I was standing there waiting for about three minutes and then, around the corner came what had to be the most convincing representation of the Punisher I had seen to date…Chris Warner in prison clothes.
His hair is dark and slicked back just the way I’ve seen it thousands of times in the pages of the Punisher and his gaze is enough to make you feel very uncomfortable in your own shoes. His chest is barreled so that he appears to have stumbled out of the pages of the old Charles Atlas ads. There was little question in my mind at that point that this IS the Punisher. It all started to make sense why he wanted to take this project on, it was a natural fit. This is the original Hollywood bad-ass in present day. Warner reminded me of a young Charles Bronson.
Just to let you know, I have studied martial arts for just short of 22 years and few people have the ability to intimidate me by their mere presence, but I struggled to remember my questions I had lined up and had to keep looking away mainly due to the unsettling feeling I got just being near this guy. Finally we sat down and much to my pleasant surprise, he smiled and welcomed me. Phew, it is always such a relief when you realize the guy across from you that can take your head off is actually friendly. It was like he went from Punisher to Yogi Bear…now that’s the sign of a great actor. But which was the acting role, the tough guy or the gentle giant? I’ll let you decide.
It turns out that Warner is quite the veteran actor. In fact during his interview he revealed that this has been a 15 year climb and that he had to make certain that he was ready to take on this magnitude of a role. So now here he was, ready to show the world what he’s made of, starting with the public and then on to winning over the hearts and wallets of Marvel Studios. Warner’s credits include such blockbuster hits as The Event, Sin City, and Machete among many others. But he didn’t want to wait on Marvel to call him, he decided to make this project, get the fans behind him, and call on Marvel with substance and proof that he is the right man for the job.
The latest project from Warner is his rendition of The Punisher, the classic character from the pages of Marvel Comics. The Punisher first arrived on the scene in 1974 in the now famous issue of The Amazing Spider-Man #129 where he rivaled the web-slinger himself. The Punisher went on to multiple recurring appearances all over the Marvel universe causing plenty of trouble and not afraid to exercise the eye for an eye principle as he exacts his famously violent brand of vigilante justice. In 1986 The Punisher was granted his own trial run, the incredibly well done mini-series titled The Punisher written by Steven Grant and penciled by Mike Zeck. It did so well that there has been a Punisher series going ever since and is still going strong today. The Grant story starts off in Rykers Island Prison where The Punisher is in general population with many criminals that he put there himself. It seemed like this is how Warner feels The Punisher story should have been shown on the big screen.
During the interview, Warner revealed little of his project’s plot but he did reveal that it takes place in Rykers and that he is taking The Punisher back to his roots of NYC and not in the sunny beaches of Florida or the keys. “The Punisher is dark and that’s how we’re going to show him. Others have been too scared for some reason to go into the horrible reasons why The Punisher is what he is. I’m not afraid to go there, I think you have to in order to understand him. And if the audience can understand the character then they can relate with him. When they relate with him, you have a better movie. That’s where I think others before me may have dropped the ball.” said Warner.
It has been an enigma as to why such a popular character from the pages of Marvel Comics has not enjoyed the raving success as some of their other titles. Some speculate it’s because of the R rating that you need in order to really capture the character while others have demanded a more exemplary Frank Castle to how he is in the comic books. It seems as though Hollywood always thinks they know better, but the fans have the last word since they are the ones buying the tickets, or not buying them.
Warner agrees that staying true to the comics is indeed a risk but he’s convinced that the risk will have a great gain and that the fans will have the last word once again. Warner’s Punisher is being derived almost entirely out of conversations between Warner and Punisher fans at conventions. Warner has been setting up and promoting his Punisher project and getting ideas and opinions for the last couple of years and he’s ready now to make it happen. You can visit his Kickstarter page here: http://goo.gl/q2n7J.
Chris Warner has a long road ahead of himself if he wants to get the attention of Marvel but he seems geared up with plenty of opinions directly from the fans and is as ready for battle as the Punisher himself would be against a legion of mafioso. It seems that Warner offers up a stunningly accurate portrayal of The Punisher from what I can tell and while this is not a big budget risk, it may be exactly what the fans have been longing for: gritty, dirty, bloody, and dark…but most of all, we may actually get to see The Punisher.