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Punisher 2 Casting – Who’s The Best Punisher?

The Punisher is Batman for the B-movie actor set in Hollywood… everybody gets a chance to play the title role in one of the sequels. Don’t be surprised to see Michael Madsen as Punny in the direct-to-DVD movie, The Punisher 5: Everybody Gets Punished.

Now that Ray Stevenson (or, Rome‘s Titus Pullo) has been slated to star in The Punisher 2, three actors will have stepped into Frank Castle’s combat boots. But do the boots fit any of them?

(Clearly, months of blogging have not improved my ability to craft a metaphor. Thank the Lords of Porky Pig you don’t need a license for this job.)

Even when Marvel Comics was mucking up the character in the 1990s, there have been three constants:

  1. The Punisher is descended from Sicilians.
  2. He is a big, chiseled brute.
  3. He is a bad-ass.

Pretty simple formula. Let’s see if these actors have the right, um… formula ingredients.



Appears in: The Punisher (1989)

Sicilian? Um, no… not unless everyone has started referring to his homeland of Sweden as “the football to Italy’s boot,” and forgot to tell me about it.

Big and chiseled? The Russians didn’t pump him full of steroids in Rocky 4 for ‘nuthin.

Bad-ass? Yes, Ivan Drago, the Universal Soldier, a.k.a. the original He-Man, Master of the Universe, is a bad-ass.


Appears in: The Punisher (2004)

Sicilian? According to IMDB, he’s “half Irish, a quarter Italian and a quarter German.” So, I’d say there’s enough hot blood in that melting pot to call him at least half-Sicilian.

Big and chiseled? In spite of his square jaw and the muscle bulk that he added for the role, he’s dangerously close to pretty-boy status.

Bad-ass? Um, negative. Did you see him in The Sweetest Thing with Cameron Diaz? A group of 2nd-graders could have leveled him with nerf bats.


Appears in: Punisher War Zone (2008)

Sicilian? He was raised in northern England. So let me ask you this: Are crumpets Sicilian?

Big and chiseled? Sure.

Bad-ass? Hell-to-the-yeah! Have you not seen him as Titus Pullo in HBO’s Rome? If you haven’t, kindly return your Y chromosome… you don’t deserve it.


Appears in: “Hey! He’s not in a Punisher movie!” Good catch, smarty-pants.

Sicilian? He was born in a suburb of Rochester called Fairport. His ancestors hail from Ireland… specifically, from the Isle of Ninny. The closest he’s ever come to Sicily was getting beat up in grade school by Sicilian kids.

Big and chiseled? Fat and doughy.

Bad-ass? Um. Two of his most memorable roles were Truman Capote and the annoying pansy in Boogie Nights. So, I’m going with… no.


1) Philip Seymour Hoffman is a chubby shadow of a real man.

2) The world hasn’t seen the perfect on-screen portrayal of Punny, yet, but Tommy Jane did a fair job, and I’m rooting for Titus Pullo.

15 comments… add one
  • nickolai July 24, 2007, 8:18 am

    I think Michael Madsen would make a fantastic Punisher. Except for the whole athleticism, chiseled body thing, he’d be great.

  • Nathan D July 24, 2007, 12:32 pm

    We of the doughy variety resent your clear anti-doughism. And the fact that your site isn’t rendering properly in Safari.

  • Great White Snark July 24, 2007, 12:38 pm

    Nickolai: Michael Madsen definitely has the attitude.

    Nathan: Well, I resent Safari for making my life more difficult.

  • nickolai July 24, 2007, 1:33 pm

    And while we’re mixing and matching, I’ll throw David Duchovny into the mix for having the perfect Punisher hands.

  • Great White Snark July 24, 2007, 2:31 pm


  • Cynthia July 24, 2007, 3:14 pm

    I’ve never seen a Punisher movie, but now that I know Ray Stevenson is in the next one, I may make an exception. Imagine my horror to discover that my husband had deleted all the episodes of this season’s “Rome” that I had carefully Tivoed. I consider this completely acceptable grounds for divorce.

    Nickolai: Awesome “Zoolander” reference. You have skills.

  • Great White Snark July 24, 2007, 4:51 pm

    Crackers! Is that what that was? A Zoolander reference? Someone buy me a clue. Nickolai is sharp as a tack, as always.

  • nickolai July 24, 2007, 5:25 pm

    It was a stretch for sure – Duchovny’s hands are actually totally anti-Punisher. Mickey Rourke may be a better (serious) suggestion for mitts.

    Cynthia, I hope you put your hubby on warning. My better half knows better than to touch any of my dawson’s creek episodes.

  • Great White Snark July 24, 2007, 5:30 pm

    Dawson’s Creek. You’re on a roll today.

    Cynthia, the appropriate punishment for deleting episodes of Rome might be cutting off his hands.

    Unless they’re smooth, Duchovny-like hands. That’s be a waste.

  • Cindi July 24, 2007, 9:10 pm

    Husband claims he “doesn’t remember” deleting Rome. He blames me.

    Husband does have quite smooth, girlish hands, which makes up for his general hairiness.

    David Duchovny is a biscuit. He’s definitely on My List.

  • nickolai July 25, 2007, 8:55 am

    Really?! Even with pictures like this floating around on the i-superhighway?!


  • Cindi July 25, 2007, 9:52 am

    Yes. Especially because of pictures like that.

  • Cindi July 26, 2007, 10:21 pm

    An update. My husband has suggested we CANCEL HBO in some misguided cost-cutting measure. Could someone talk some sense into him?

  • Great White Snark July 27, 2007, 12:28 am

    What is he on?

  • Citizen Zero December 29, 2008, 2:48 pm

    I’ve been thinkin about it for days and while there is no clear cut number 1 for Francis Castiglione aka Frank Castle, i do agree that Mickey Rourke might be more than serviceable. If he plays it with the black and white morality that was written for Marv in Sin City. He’s big and badass but I doubt the Sicilian pedigree, 2 outta 3 aint bad.

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