As the vigilante Frank Castle in Marvel’s “The Punisher,” actor Jon Bernthal has a lot to draw from in order to lead a show so brutal Netflix had to delay its release due to the Las Vegas shooting. From getting a gun pulled on him during a Moscow mugging to spending a night in jail for smashing a man’s head open, Bernthal’s current success is due to his ability to keep his anger in check — or at least save it for the camera.
Before “The Punisher,” Bernthal was best known as Shane Walsh from “The Walking Dead,” but he has also had supporting roles in films such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Baby Driver.” An in-depth Esquire profile chronicles the actor’s bad boy youth and roundabout route to fame, including details of his unorthodox pit bull training techniques (“Put your hand up its ass!”). He once threatened to beat up Oliver Stone on the set of 2006’s “World Trade Center,” and lived to tell the tale. These days, Bernthal has tamed his rage to become a highly successful actor and family man.
But there’s one group for whom he reserves the right to stay angry: The alt-right demonstrators who wore the Punisher’s insignia, a skull with long fangs, during the Charlottesville rally. “Fuck them,” Bernthal said.