Could it be that Ray Stevenson is not done with his role as The Punisher? It seems that the actor, who portrayed the brutal, grief-stricken, gun-toting, vigilante in 2008's Punisher: War Zone may be in the running to return to the property, now that Marvel Studios has regained the film rights to its character.
Marvel already has him cast in this May's Thor and as he tells The Playlist, he could very well be back to shooting criminals in the face. Of course, it should be noted that the significance of such news is rooted in the fact that War Zone performed nothing short of abysmal at the box-office and it was also considered a creative failure to boot. With a production budget of $35 million, the film barely grossed over $10 million worldwide, resulting in a $25 million cost/net deficit. -- A failure in the most definitive sense.
So, the question you may have on the tips of your tongues, is why the hell would Marvel want to bring back the star of a franchise-raper like War Zone? Well, apparently, while the film was considered craptacular, they like what they've seen of the actor.
As Stevenson tells The Playlist on a possible return as Frank Castle aka The Punisher:
“We have talked a bit. We have met about it. I would love to do it. We can definitely bring back Frank to the screen.”
However, besides recently voicing the role of The Punisher in the comic cutsey-animated Marvel series Superhero Squad, the most compelling evidence for Stevenson's case, is the fact that he's signed for a three-picture deal with Marvel Studios, beginning with Thor, in which he will play the rotund Asgardian adventurer Volstagg. Commenting on that role, Stevenson remarks:
“My agent said, people won’t recognize you. And I said, I don’t give a damn! Who else is gonna give me a chance to put a big fatsuit on and ham it up? And I said to Ken Branagh, I was nervous, and he said, you can’t be too loud! So I said fine, I’ll dip my toe into the river of ham. And he said, trust me, I’ve swam in that river many times. You enjoy that!”
The Volstagg role will prove quite interesting. He's generally known as an overweight, thick-bearded braggart who tells wild tall tales about his alleged accomplishments on the battlefield. You can tell that, likely modeled after the great Shakespearean character of Falstaff, director Kenneth Branagh was able to utilize both Stevenson's action, as well as comical talents. While ridiculously huge picture deals seem to be standard practice with Marvel Studios these days, if they are indeed happy enough with him to lock him down with a deal, there could be a ring of truth to his return as The Punisher. While that last Punisher film did have its segment of fans, it was clear that the critical response treated this film like a giant puss-fizzling genital wart due to the film's apparent lack of vision, rather than Stevenson's performance.
Would you be willing to give Ray Stevenson another chance as The Punisher if the conditions were right? A reboot (well, I guess a "re-re-reboot") of the property under the Marvel Studios banner, possibly connected to the canon of the other ongoing Marvel movies, may be just what this franchise needs.
Source: The Playlist