The Long Box – Comic Book Casting: The Punisher
The Punisher has been in what I like to call “movie jail”. Despite three feature films, it has never found traction with audiences or critics. In 1989, the first film starred Dolph Lundgren and went straight to video (never a good sign). The second was released in theaters in 2004 and starred Thomas Jane. This version was loosely based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion’s first run on the comic. The series was then rebooted in 2008 with the film Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson. That last movie was the one that locked The Punisher away in solitary for the past 4 years.
As I mentioned in my Daredevil casting call (look back in the feed to find it), Marvel/Disney regained the rights to make a Punisher feature film in 2011. With the success of The Avengers, Marvel Studios is looking at all kinds of properties to make into big screen adaptations. With “Phase 3” of the Marvel movie plan going into effect (Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, and Hero’s For Hire), I think we might hear of a new Punisher film for a possible “Phase 4”. Here’s my idea for the flick.
Everyone knows the origin of Frank Castle. There’s no need to rehash it all. A little blurb at the beginning of the movie or a little montage during the opening credits and right into the action.
In 2011, writer Greg Rucka and artist Marco Checchetto relaunched The Punisher series. In the book, The Punisher teams up with Rachel Cole-Alves, a US Marine (like Frank Castle) whose entire family is murdered during her wedding. He takes her under his wing to help her get revenge on the people who ordered the hit. Oscar Clemmons & Walter Bolt are two detectives charged with solving the Cole/Alves massacre. There are a few twists and turns that could make for an interesting film.
The movie needs to be an action/revenge flick putting Castle and Alves on a collision course with the group that arranged the Wedding Party Massacre and including the two detectives.
I think this film needs a director who can find a perfect mix of action, drama, suspense, and grit. Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional & The Fifth Element) is a great choice. Besson is a great filmmaker, and he can make a Punisher film that would garner the respect the character deserves. A film dealing with two vigilantes and their war on crime needs to be rated R, and Besson has the ability to make a movie that has the violence without overdoing it. He would also bring the dramatic element necessary for a really good crime film.