The Punisher Says ‘Hello Newman’

And Dominic West also joins War Zone

The Punisher Says 'Hello Newman'

by James Dyer |
Published on

With filming due in October, Marvel and Lionsgate are ramping up the casting on their Punisher revamp, The Punisher: War Zone – and by doing so, they’re dropping clues that this film will be much more faithful to the original comics than Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2004 film.

For it was today announced that British actor Dominic West – so scintillating in The Wire – and Wayne Knight – so scintillating in just about everything, from Jurassic Park to Seinfeld, where he was the regular recipient of Seinfeld’s contemptuous catchphrase, “Hello Newman” – had joined the cast of Lexi Alexander’s movie about the vigilante nutjob with the skull on his chest. And that’s the hero we’re talking about.

West will play Jigsaw, a psychotic Mafia hitman who becomes the Punisher’s arch-nemesis, so perhaps he was the ‘first choice’ that Paddy Considine mentioned when he was briefly offered the role last week. Macho, physically imposing and a damned good actor, Empire can’t help but wonder for a second if West might have actually made a better new Punisher than the guy who got the job, Rome’s Ray Stevenson. But just for a second, mind…

Newman – one of Empire’s favourite cult actors - will play Microchip, one of the more sympathetic figures in the Punisher universe. Effectively Frank Castle’s right-hand man, Microchip is a portly and bearded munitions and computer whiz who agrees to help the Punisher out in his war on crime after suffering a similar family-neutralising catalysing incident. He was last seen… well, let’s not go there. But it’s not good.

The inclusion of Jigsaw and Microchip – not to mention Dash Mihok as Detective Soap, one of the most popular characters from Garth Ennis’ legendary run on the Marvel title (before it went all dark and violent under the Max imprint), Doug Hutchinson as Loony Bin Jim and the great and glorious COLIN SALMON as Agent Paul Budiansky – indicates that War Zone will be more comic booky than Marvel’s last stab at bringing the Punisher to life.

But as they’re essentially mix-and-matching great Punisher runs – Soap is from Ennis, Microchip and Jigsaw are from the comic’s early halcyon days – it’s hard to predict how dark War Zone will be, or what plot twists will manifest themselves. And, frankly, that’s just the way it should be.

Shooting starts in Montreal in a number of days.

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