The Punisher (2004) Poster



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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. The scene was included in the extended DVD version.
While filming their knife fight scene, Thomas Jane accidentally stabbed Kevin Nash.
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.
Thomas Jane trained for nearly 7 months with the United States Navy SEALs and gained more than 20 pounds of muscle in doing so.
The first comic book adaptation to earn an R rating since Blade (1998).
The declaration that Frank Castle writes near the end of the film, listing the basis 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".
Thomas Jane wears a blond wig in the opening sequence. Coincidently, Jane is blond in real life but he had already dyed his hair black for the part of Frank Castle.
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.
Shooting in Tampa was a double-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 prone to lightning storms that roll in suddenly and very violently. The summer that the film crew shot in Tampa was the city's wettest since 1890.
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.
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."
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.
Thomas Jane returned as Frank Castle in the 2012 short film "The Punisher: Dirty Laundry". Which sees Castle punishing a gang that assaulted a group of prostitutes and Castle giving one of his signature t-shirts to a boy, whom the gang mugged.
Much of the torture exchange between Will Patton and Ben Foster was improvised.
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.
When this was released on DVD in September 2004, it surprised Marvel by selling nearly 2 million copies in its first five days.
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.
The original film, with no edits, clocked in at 2 hours and 56 minutes.
Ben Foster really did acquire some piercings for the part.
The earrings that Howard Saint gives to his wife are not props but real Harry Winston diamonds, valued at $1 million.
Five identical Pontiac GTOs were built (two were completely destroyed) for the movie. This muscle car was chosen in order to distance the film from the earlier Australian version of The Punisher (1989) (in which action star Dolph Lundgren rode a motorcycle).
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.
Thomas Jane's discolored thumbnail was the result of him slamming it in a door, and has nothing to do with the story.
Thomas Jane was director Jonathan Hensleigh and producer Avi Arad's first choice to play The Punisher from the very beginning.
Jonathan Hensleigh and Roy Scheider were neighbors in New York City, which is how Scheider was cast as Frank Castle, Sr.
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.
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.
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 in which Stan Lee does not appear.
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".
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.
The Castle family house in Puerto Rico is 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.
Total body count = 45.
The Russian fight sequence was described on the set as the "Horrific Clown Show".
The Punisher/ Russian fight scene took 2 days to film.
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.
Despite never actually interacting, Thomas Jane and John Travolta both starred in Face/Off (1997). Jane played one of the inmates at the federal prison in which Sean Archer as "Castor Troy" infiltrates.
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 last film to be produced by Artisan Entertainment.
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.
When Dave is reading Frank Castle's biography, he says that Castle worked for "CTU," the Counter-Terrorism Unit. CTU is a fictional government agency in the TV series 24 (2001).
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.
In order to update the comic origin to present day, Frank Castle's military record was changed from Vietnam to the Gulf War
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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 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.
Ben Foster and Rebecca Romijn have both acted in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). She plays Mystique and he plays Angel.
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
The license plate on Frank Castle's car reads "Year One", the auto customizer that worked on the GTO. It was just a coincidence that The Punisher also had a Year One title.
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.
Lions Gate purchased Artisan Entertainment midway through production.
Micky Duka is heavily based on a character from the comic series, named Mickey Fondozzi, who worked as a mob informant for The Punisher.
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 song Joan listens on the radio is "Broken" by Seether featuring Amy Lee.
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The house used as Howard Saint's mansion belonged to ex NBA player Matt Geiger 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.
Frank Castle mentions getting upset when the Yankees win the Series. Thomas Jane portrayed Yankee Mickey Mantle in 61* (2001).
Another problem that beset the production was the unseasonably rainy weather affecting Florida at the time of filming.
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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.
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The bourbon Castle drinks throughout the film is "Wild Turkey". In the Jimmy Weeks subplot, we see Jimmy drinking the same brand.
In Jimmy Week's backstory: Jimmy owed a gambling debt to Howard Saint and Jimmy sold out Castle by selling the information on Castle to Howard Saint.
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Tony Ciccone was the original choice for picture editor by Jonathan Hensleigh. A breakout opportunity for the nascent editor. However, when more funding was made available, veteran editor Steven Kemper was hired, having prior worked for producer Gale Anne Hurd.
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Thomas Jane and Eddie Jemison later starred together in the HBO series 'Hung'. Jemison plays the new husband of Jane's ex-wife.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Frank Castle manipulating Howard Saint into murdering Livia Saint and Quentin Glass, by making Saint think that Livia and Glass are having an affair was written as a nod to Licence to Kill (1989) - James Bond manipulates Franz Sanchez into killing Milton Krest, by making Sanchez think Krest hired someone to kill him.
All the piercings that Ben Foster (Spacker Dave) wears in the movie are fake, except for the eyebrow one. In the scene where Will Patton (Quentin Glass) removes them one by one, a prosthetic was made for the eyebrow one so that it could be taken out without injuring Ben.
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In the narrative behind Castle's speech in the final scene. The speech is Castle's warning to criminals as The Punisher, and that if they break the law, or kill, hurt or wrong the innocent, he will come after them. Frank Castle is a man who has lost everything and is now on a path of violent vengeance.
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