The Punisher (2004) Poster



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While filming a knife fight scene, Thomas Jane accidentally stabbed Kevin Nash.
Thomas Jane trained for nearly 7 months with the United States Navy SEALs and gained more than 20 pounds of muscle in doing so.
In a subplot of the film, which was cut, Frank Castle finds out that Howard Saint got his information from his friend FBI Agent Jimmy Weeks. He eventually stalks him and drives Weeks to commit suicide. This was included in the extended DVD cut.
The "popsicle interrogation" scene was drawn from a nearly identical scene in Punisher War Zone #1 (1992) written by Chuck Dixon.
Thomas Jane initially turned down the role twice, as well as a part in X-Men (2000), as he didn't see himself as a superhero actor. He only became interested in the character after being asked to play him for the second time and he had seen Timothy Bradstreet's artwork of the character.
Rebecca Romijn revealed that in a scene where she sews up a knife wound on Thomas Jane, she pushes the needle too far in and ends up actually sewing a couple of stitches on Thomas Jane's body instead of just the prosthetic wound.
Jonathan Hensleigh actually knew someone who parked illegally for two years in Manhattan by using the same bogus fire hydrant ploy Frank Castle uses to keep Livia's parking space open during his schemes.
Jonathan Hensleigh was dismayed before filming began when he learned that he wasn't going to be given sufficient budget for a top flight action movie. He felt he needed in the region of $64 million but was only given $15 million instead, and only 52 days to shoot the picture. Hensleigh had to rewrite a lot of his original script to accommodate this reduction in budget and shooting schedule.
Seeing as he had absolutely no involvement with the creation of the original Punisher character, this is one of the few movies based on a Marvel Comic that Stan Lee does not appear in.
The earrings that Howard Saint gives to his wife are not props but real Harry Winston diamonds, valued at $1 million.
The original film with no edits or cuts clocked in at 2 hours and 56 minutes.
Pro Wrestler Kevin Nash had to cut his hair for his role. To explain the haircut to his wrestling fans, he "bet" his hair in a match against wrestler Chris Jericho.
Thomas Jane was director Jonathan Hensleigh and producer Avi Arad's first choice to play The Punisher from the very beginning.
With the supervision of a trainer, Thomas Jane worked out extensively for the role with two hours of weight lifting and cardio, sometimes twice a day and a rigorous diet of health shakes. Jane also trained with multiple firearms and weaponry.
When this was released on DVD in September 2004, it surprised Marvel by selling nearly 2 million copies in its first five days.
Thomas Jane's discolored thumbnail was the result of him slamming it in a door, and has nothing to do with the story.
The scene with the explosion in front of the Bank of America building was not adequately publicized and hundreds of people called 911 thinking it was an actual explosion.
The words that Frank Castle writes near the end of the film, listing the bases of his vigilante philosophy in numbered order, form the beginning of his war journal, an ongoing diary of his campaign against organized crime. It was the basis for the long-running comic book "The Punisher War Journal".
The first comic book adaptation to earn an R rating since Blade (1998).
Much of the torture exchange between Will Patton and Ben Foster was improvised.
A close up shot of a bodyguard getting hit in the head with a paper cutter was cut due to the MPAA saying it was "too real".
Thomas Jane wears a blond wig in the opening sequence. Ironically, Jane is blond in real life but he had already dyed his hair black for the part of Frank Castle.
The Punisher/ Russian fight scene took 2 days to film.
Many of the characters, including Joan, Bumpo, Spacker Dave and The Russian, all come from the punisher series "Welcome Back, Frank", written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon and Jimmy Palmiotti. Timothy Bradstreet illustrated the covers, along with the promotional posters for the movie.
A lot of Frank Castle's extended family in the beachside party scene are stuntpeople as most of them were going to die in violent circumstances. Even the children were largely children of stuntpeople.
Originally, The Punisher was supposed to have a sidekick, David Lieberman, alias Microchip, the Intel man. He was written out as director Jonathan Hensleigh had an intense dislike of the character.
Total body count = 45.
John Travolta allowed Thomas Jane to have his name first in the credits and advertising so that he could work on this project. In fact, he didn't mind it at all, allowing Jane to be put over so he can get recognition as the main character.
The Russian fight sequence was described on the set as the "Horrific Clown Show".
The Castle family house in Puerto Rico are really restrooms/changing rooms located in Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida. State Parks adhere to strict rules about color of their buildings, the restrooms/changing room where re-painted from their original grey to the colors seen in the movie, they remain that color since the movie was released.
Ben Foster really did acquire some piercings for the part.
Shooting in Tampa was a two-edged sword. On one hand, the city's downtown area has no residential areas so it would be completely emptied out by the end of the working day - ideal for a film crew. But the city is also the lightning capital of the world with rainstorms that roll in suddenly and very violently. The summer that the film crew shot in Tampa was the city's wettest since 1890.
When the teaser trailer was shown, there was negative reaction to the solid white skull logo which has been the character's trademark in the books. The costume designer changed it to a "worn-down" design that better suited Frank Castle's character in the film.
The only Punisher film thus far, where Frank Castle engages the murderers of his family rather than him tackling other foes after the genesis of him becoming The Punisher.
Director Jonathan Hensleigh wanted the music to be very emotional. When scoring the film, composer Carlo Siliotto saw Frank Castle as a tragic figure stating, "This man, Frank Castle, is somebody who has a slaughtered family. He comes through that slaughter, and becomes a punisher. But he's a sad man - he drinks, and he has bad memories always coming to him. There's a lot in the film, and at times it is like a modern version of classic tragedy like "Othello."
The first scene in the movie was originally intended to be a battle set in Kuwait during the first Gulf War, but the reduction in budget rendered that impossible.
The knife that Frank takes from the man attempting to break into Joan's apartment is a Benchmade model 42 balisong. Frank also uses a Strider JW model and an Emerson Karambit.
Was originally slated to be a sequel with Thomas Jane returning as Frank Castle/The Punisher with Jonathan Hensleigh returning to direct it as well. The writing development had went on for three years but by 2007, both Jane and Hensleigh left due to creative differences and also the budget being cut. After they left, Lionsgate then decided bring in director Lexi Alexander and actor Ray Stevenson to play The Punisher and rebooted the film into what is now Punisher: War Zone (2008).
Castle's sidearm for the climactic firefight is a modified 1911-style .45 equipped with a compensator, extended safeties and slide stop, beveled magazine well, and adjustable sights.
The weapon Castle uses in the final shootout is a Colt M4A1 carbine, a shortened version of the M16 rifle. Castle's is modified with a flat-top upper receiver with a Picatinny-type accessory rail, an M203 40mm grenade launcher , and an Aimpoint M68 Close Combat Optic.
The Punisher was created by comic book writer Gerry Conway for an issue of Amazing Spiderman. Conway himself has become a successful writer for television and film.
When shooting the surprise retirement party for Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) after the success of the major sting, the group of extras behind the table were directed to make simple cheers once Thomas Jane walked in. This scene was shot several times because a certain actor kept fumbling his lines. On one such entrance of Thomas Jane, he commended the extras and told them that he actually felt like they were real and sincere with their praise for him.
Before choosing Tampa as the location to both film and set the movie, the director also considered places such as Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Galveston, Texas.
The bounty hunter's actual name was Harry "Heck" Thornton but was truncated to avoid confusion with the actor Billy Bob Thornton. In Welcome Back Frank, he does not carry a guitar or sing.
Scenes were constantly scaled back or cut to meet budget requirements. Effects scenes were almost always done the old-fashioned way with old tricks replacing new CGI. Jonathan Hensleigh discusses this in the commentary track of the original DVD edition
Five identical Pontiac GTOs were built (two were totally destroyed) for the movie. This muscle car was chosen the film to distance itself from the earlier Artisan version of The Punisher (1989) (in which action star Dolph Lundgren rode a motorcycle throughout).
In order to update the comic origin to present day, Frank Castle's military record was changed from Vietnam to the Gulf War
Jonathan Hensleigh and Roy Scheider are neighbors in New York City, which is how Scheider was cast as Frank Castle, Sr.
The scene when Howard Saint visits Quentin Glass in his home at night was actually shot in the middle of the afternoon. The evening effect was achieved by tenting up the real-life house that was being used as Glass's home.
Director Jonathan Hensleigh did not want superhero music for the ending scene where Frank is on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, making his vow as The Punisher, because "The Punisher is not a superhero."
Second film in which Samantha Mathis plays the love interest of the hero and John Travolta plays the villain. The first was Broken Arrow (1996).
The exclusive club that Howard Saint owns is "Saints and Sinners".
Frank's tenement building was located at the corner of N. Nebraska Ave. and E. Zack St., directly across the street from the Tampa Amtrak station. It was a fairly well known local landmark due to it's unusual shape, but has since been demolished.
Tampa Bay Lightning hockey player Vincent Lecavalier and former Bucaneers football player John Lynch were originally in one of the first scenes of the movie that was eventually deleted.
Micky Duka is heavily based on a character from the comic series, named Mickey Fondozzi, who worked as a mob informant for The Punisher.
The last film to be produced by Artisan Entertainment.
When Castle is readying himself to administer the coup de grace to Saint, he attaches a shoulder stock to a pistol. This is presumably supposed to be a Glock 18, a version of the Glock 17 9mm capable of fully automatic fire. This is uncertain, however, since the piece never appears again in the film.
The house used as Howard Saint's mansion belonged to ex NBA player Matt Geiger at the time of filming.
For inspiration, Jonathan Hensleigh and his cinematographer Conrad W. Hall watched dozens of action films from the 60s and 70s, such as the Dirty Harry series, The Getaway (1972), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), The Godfather (1972) and Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Another problem that beset the production was the unseasonably rainy weather affecting Florida at the time of filming.
The guns Mickey and Bobby try to buy in the beginning of the movie are Heckler & Koch G36Cs, the compact version of the G36 assault rifle.
Jonathan Hensleigh's template was to make an R rated comic book movie as if it had been directed by Sam Peckinpah or Don Siegel.
Reboot of 1989's "The Punisher".
In a grotesque example of life imitating art, John Travolta's character starts the film mourning the loss of his son. Six years after the release of this film, Travolta's son Jett died in real life following a seizure.
Wizard Magazine editor Jesse Thompson appeared as a customer in the diner where Frank and Joan were before Heck comes in. He was not in the final cut.
The license plate on Frank Castle's car reads "Year One". This is the auto customizer that worked on the GTO. It was just a coincidence that The Punisher also had a Year One title.
Lions Gate purchased Artisan Entertainment midway through production.
The bourbon Castle drinks throughout the film is "Wild Turkey". In the Jimmy Weeks subplot, we see Jimmy drinking the same brand.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The director's cut of the film features a subplot in which it is revealed that Jimmy Weeks (A. Russell Andrews) gave information to the Saints about the Castles in order to settle a gambling debt effectively betraying Frank (Thomas Jane). Frank discovers this and then, in a very dark scene, forces Jimmy to commit suicide. The idea was cut from the theatrical film for pacing reasons.
The Saints and Sinners Club shootout between Frank Castle and Howard Saint's goons was originally longer, but was cut because of pacing and explicit bloodshed. The only two scenes that were altered because of violence were: 1: The point-blank head shot featured blood squirting from the back of a thug's head. 2: The scene in which a thug is dispatched by way of sawed-off shotgun was also cut. The original scene feature pieces of the thug being sprayed from his wounds.
In the script, Livia Saint was supposed to commit suicide and not be killed by Howard Saint. She died the same way showed in the movie, but in the script she willingly threw herself off the bridge.
The scene in which hot oil is tossed on to The Russian was scaled back due to excessive violence. Originally, blood was supposed to pour from The Russian's eyes, but it was deemed "too much" by the MPAA.

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