Marvel Studios has already proven itself more than capable of handling gritty, mature-audience fare with its Daredevil series on Netflix, so it seems like it’s only a matter of time before we get another bloody adventure with Marvel’s vigilante antihero The Punisher. And if Mad Max: Fury Road star Tom Hardy has his way, he’ll be the man to bring the character back to the screen.
During an interview with Collider, Hardy emphatically expressed his desire to don the iconic skull worn by Frank Castle, a former soldier who becomes a street-level judge, jury, and executioner after his family is killed by criminals.
“I want The Punisher,” said Hardy when asked about his interest in superhero movies. “I want The Punisher, or Splinter Cell … I want something.”
Along with name-checking the upcoming adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, for which he’s already signed on to play series protagonist Sam Fisher, Hardy indicated that there might be some obstacles to overcome if he does indeed have the opportunity to play The Punisher.
“I’m not big enough to be The Punisher,” he explained. “I’m 5’9″ — [but] Frank Castle, I would love it. ”
Given Hardy’s resume, it’s easy to overlook any issues with his height given all the tough-guy roles he’s successfully portrayed.
His portrayal of Michael Gordon Peterson (a.k.a. Charles Bronson), the United Kingdom’s most notorious criminal, in the 2008 film Bronson offers a particularly compelling example of Hardy’s ability to find the drama in physically intimidating characters. The same holds true for his critically praised performance in the 2011 mixed martial arts drama Warrior (pictured above).
If Hardy does get the chance to play Frank Castle, he’ll be the fourth actor do so in a movie based on the character. Dolph Lundgren played the role of Frank Castle in the 1989 film The Punisher, which was followed by another film titled The Punisher in 2004 that cast Thomas Jane as the title character. Neither film was particularly successful or received warmly by fans of the character.
The 2008, “R”-rated film Punisher: War Zone cast Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, and while it failed to do well financially, it went on to become a cult classic of sorts among the characters’ fans due to its violent fight sequences and graphic depiction of the brutality the Punisher is capable of dishing out.