After heaps of fan speculation concerning who will play Marvel's most brutally violent anti-hero The Punisher in an upcoming movie, I think we finally have a front runner for the formidable role.
Previous actors who have donned the iconic skull-printed shirt include Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson, but this latest contender blows all previous candidates clean out of the water. Your next Frank Castle is looking like he may well be portrayed by the one and only...
The beefy British actor, famed for his portrayal of ferocious Batman super-villain Bane, says he'd love to play Marvel's badass vigilante. Hardy recently spoke to Collider about the possibility of the role, but had concerns about one shortcoming - his height:
INTERVIEWER: I heard Warner Bros. has a few more superhero movies, maybe one or two that they’re developing [Laughs].
HARDY: I want The Punisher… I want The Punisher, or Splinter Cell, I want something…I don’t know what I want.
INTERVIEWER: You as Punisher could be very interesting.
HARDY: I’m not big enough to be The Punisher, I’m 5’9” [Laughs].
INTERVIEWER: But I actually think that adds to the character.
HARDY: Frank Castle, I would love it. Is that him, isn’t it?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. It’s Frank Castle.
How awesome is that?!
Hardy was set to star in the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. It looks like the actor is still pining for some comic book action, and I can't think of a property he'd be more perfect for. Here're 3 reasons why...
1. He's already proven how nerve-shatteringly intimidating he can be
Firstly, I don't think the height issue he mentioned is a problem. Though it's true Hardy isn't quite the towering beast we're familiar with from the comics, I don't think a few inches should condemn him in any way.
I mean, he did a damn fine job playing Batman's most powerful and intimidating foe, so there's no reason he wouldn't be perfect for The Punisher too! If you still don't believe me, check out his truly terrifying performance in this memorable sewer scene:
2. He's well acquainted with violent roles
Daredevil showrunner Stephen S. DeKnight previously stated his desire to see Frank Castle adapted in a similar way, bringing The Punisher to Netflix for a brilliantly brutal R rated series.
Having kicked some serious ass in Warrior, Brosnan, and Lawless, Hardy has proved how comfortable he can be with a little of the old ultra-violence. As a man of highly refined ruggedness, there's few who look better hulking forward with a battered jaw and a bloodied pair of fists.
3. He has a softer side to him crucial for the role
We're all familiar with The Punisher's ruthless killing sprees, crushing bones and bashing skulls without mercy. But remember, we're likely to see Castle's origin story too, which involves the tragic death of his wife and two kids.
Luckily, Hardy's emotional range is more than capable of selling such a heart-wrenching scene.
How does he compare with previous Punishers?
If this dream casting does indeed come true, I think the former Bane may well make the best Punisher we've seen to date. But enough of me - what do you think?
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