To date, we've had three different Punisher movies all with some varying degree of disappointment. Who should take over as Frank Castle? Find out 5 actors that we think could fill those boots.
Now that Marvel has the rights back to The Punisher, let's discuss our top selections for the inevitable movie or TV show. Some of these won't ever happen, but it's nice to dream.
Growing up as a die hard Punisher: War Journal fan, there was only one film that ever came close to capturing the essence of Frank Castle and his battle for vengeance. Punisher: War Zone was the only movie that respectfully served the source material and offered up anything close to the comic book form of the character. Although its presentation was over the top at times and the villains were far too camp, it was way better than the Thomas Jane version and put the low budget Dolph Lundgren affair to shame.
Despite three failed box office attempts at successfully bringing the character to the screen, here's five actors that could do the character justice if we ever get the necessary reboot that this franchise needs. There's been rumblings of a reboot since 2013.
Perhaps the most unique person on this list, Liev Schreiber has an immense resume along with an endless set of dramatic chops that could make his version of Frank Castle a true standout. Although Liev had a part in the first Wolverine movie, playing The Punisher could be a career redefining moment that would reintroduce him to the world of comic book to film adaptations. If he were to play this legendary and iconic Marvel character, he would bring years of emotionally charged screen experiences and a solid physicality to the role that would immediately separate him from the rest of the pack. Liev is a great actor that has the depth and the focus to make Castle his own while not straying too far from the demands of fans.
4. Joe Manganiello
Joe has the brawn and confident demeanor to bring Frank Castle to the screen with a unique new twist on the character. Unlike past portrayals, Manganiello has a larger build that would return the character to the way he looked in older comic book incarnations. Manganiello looks the part and and has often played visceral, physically demanding characters that call for a twisted and violent temperament. Manganiello was extremely interested in tackling the role of Superman in Man of Steel. Maybe it's time he flips the other side of the coin and plays a bad ass Marvel character instead. Joe needs a lead role like this to latch on to. The Punisher might be his ticket in to the world of comic book movies and could be a rock solid choice to play the title character.
3. Josh Brolin
Brolin is already involved in the world of Marvel as Thanos and starred as Dwight in that dreaded Sin City 2 bomb, but it's still fun to dream. Let's not even mention Jonah Hex. Brolin has all the traits to make Frank Castle the baddest, deadliest, villain destroying assassin ever brought to the screen. Over the years, Brolin has repeatedly proven himself as a stellar dramatic actor that can shift creative focus at the drop of a hat. He has the sensibilities to diversify and knows how to make each role its own dynamic and transformative cinematic entry. Alongside his unrelenting skills as an actor, Brolin would look perfect as Frank Castle and he'd know exactly how to make the character a believable, real world vigilante with guns and a thirst for vengeance.
2. Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan had a shot at one legendary comic character in 2009's Watchmen. He played The Comedian to absolute perfection.Since then, his career has been on auto-pilot with no other major lead roles. Morgan could be a prime specimen to play Frank Castle considering he hasn't been over saturated with current film fans. Morgan could be the embodiment of an older, battle worn Castle as he cleans the streets one bullet at a time. Jeffrey has been on the scene since 1991 and has definitely proven himself a worthy competitor for this role. This could be an interesting take on the character and a possible altered vision of The Punisher. And we never even talked about his similar physical characteristics.
1. Frank Grillo
Frank Grillo has the realistic grit, the dark looks, the action chops, and the hard nosed attitude to pull off Frank Castle like no other actor on this list. While he may be a bit smaller in physical stature as opposed to these other picks, Grillo has proven himself time and time again to be an absolute bad ass on screen. His latest role in The Purge: Anarchy as gun wielding Sergeant and his villainous turn as Brock in The Winter Soldier both prove that he could carry his weight as the vengeance seeking Punisher when they finally decide to light a flame under this franchise. His upcoming return to the Captain America universe as Crossbones definitely interferes with this ever happening, but he would be a superb pick.