With Marvel’s The Punisher debuting on Netflix this week That’s My Entertainment sat down with the cast to discuss what it was like making the groundbreaking series. The show tells the story of Frank Castle, a man dedicated to making the criminals of the world pay (violently) for the crimes against humanity as retribution for the death of his family.
Ben Barnes, best known for his take on Prince Caspian in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe movies, plays the part of powerful crime boss Billy Russo. We talked to him about what that experience was like and how it evolved throughout the show.
TME: What kind of research did you do for the role?
BB: I did quite a lot of things actually. I had a look at some of the old films and go my comic savvy friends to show me some of the old books but then I talked with the showrunner and he advised me to get to know members of the Army and Special Forces.
They took me through some very intense training in this gym in New York. It was very fun and an experience I will never forget.
TME: What was it like on set? This is kind of an intense role to play.
BB: I think you did feel that intensity on set, especially with Bernthal. He brings this energy that really sets the tone. I think one of the biggest things that sets The Punisher apart from other Marvel shows is no one has any powers. We didn’t have to wonder what would happen if someone with superpowers were introduced and how we would react; it was all very grounded in real life. That’s what made it so fun. In this world if you win a fight it’s because you have more training or you’re tougher, it’s very dark and gritty.
TME: You’ve played mostly heroes in your career, what was it like playing a villain?
BB: Is he a villain? There was no mention of that when we were filming. I approach it the way I approach any other role, I don’t think he sees himself as a villain. It doesn’t matter who I play, whether it is a hero or a villain, you believe you are right always. You are the one this always victimized. That adds a lot of depth to the role.
The Punisher airs on Netflix Nov.17, 2017.