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Daredevil's Jon Bernthal talks The Punisher and spin-off series

Season 2 of Daredevil swaps one morally conflicted big bad for another, even more violent one. Where Wilson Fisk had money and a misguided sense of mission, Frank Castle has muscle and rage. Make no mistake: the ante has been raised for poor Matt Murdock.

Jon-Bernthal-as-The-Punisher

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In the new issue of Empire - now onsale on all Hell’s Kitchen newsstands (and elsewhere) - Jon Bernthal talks from the set of Daredevil about playing one of Marvel’s most complex villains. As The Punisher, Gerry Conway and John Romita 1974 creation, he’s on a mission to avenge his murdered wife and child. It’s a similar starting point to Bruce Wayne, only where Batman tiptoes the line, Castle storms across it en route to bloody mayhem. It'll quickly bring him into conflict with Charlie Cox's Daredevil.

“Frank is so filled with rage and despair that this idea of a guy prancing around in a costume with little horns beating up bad guys is absurd to him,” says Bernthal. “It’s ripe for a character like Frank to come in and shit on that. What’s really interesting is that these guys are absolute enemies, but they start to understand each other.”

Rumours of a spin-off for The Punisher remain just that, but Bernthal embraces the idea. “This guy is very much burned into my heart and soul,” he explains. "I think about him all the time. And I look at it the same way Frank would look at it. I’m a soldier, man. If they call on me, I’ll stand to attention and I’ll be ready.”

Either way, all these broody early glimpses and Empire’s own visit to the show’s indicate that Bernthal has succeeded where Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson have fallen short, and created a genuinely terrifying Punisher worthy of his Marvel origins. Mr. Murdock, it’s over to you…

Daredevil Season 2 gets its 13-episode-strong Netflix release on March 18. Pick up the new issue of Empire today, meanwhile, for lots more from Bernthal as well as world-leading coverage of Captain America: Civil War, Disney’s new take on The Jungle Book and plenty of other first looks at the year’s big movies.