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DID YOU READ

15 Surprising Facts About The Punisher

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Even if you’ve read every back issue of Frank Castle’s vigilante missions, these nuggets about the production of his Hollywood adventures will surprise you.

1. The Punisher had previously graced the big screen

The Marvel character was first adapted for film in 1989 with actor Dolph Lundgren in the starring role. That movie, also called The Punisher, went straight-to-video without a theatrical release in the United States.


2. The Punisher was originally an adversary for Spider-Man.

The Punisher first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974. He wouldn’t get his own standalone comic until a limited run five-issue series in 1986.


3. The film was grounded in specific comic storylines

The 2004 adaptation of The Punisher was primarily based on two Marvel comic book series: “The Punisher: Year One” and “Welcome Back, Frank.”


4. Frank Castle had to move for the film

In the original comic book, Frank Castle’s family was murdered by the Mob in New York’s Central Park, not by a money-laundering kingpin in Tampa, as seen in the film adaptation.


5. The Punisher was nearly an Iraq War vet

The movie was originally supposed to open with a scene of Frank and his later partner, Agent Jimmy Weeks, fighting in Delta Force in the invasion of Kuwait during the First Iraq War, but the scene was cut for budgetary reasons.


6. Thomas Jane didn’t want to be the Punisher

Jane had never read The Punisher comics before taking the role of Frank Castle and initially turned the part down because he didn’t like superheroes. What ultimately attracted the actor to the role was that the Punisher was a superhero without any super powers.


7. Thomas Jane could give the Punisher a run for his money

The actor did 90 percent of his own stunt work on The Punisher.


8. None of the stunts were enhanced by CGI

Stunt coordinator and second unit director Gary Hymes had to pull off the stunts with practical effects due to the film’s relatively low $30 million budget and limited 50-day shooting schedule. Because of these restrictions, every single stunt had to be meticulously storyboarded.

9. Jane trained like the Punisher

To prepare for the role of Frank Castle, Jane endured a six-month regimen that included up to four hours of weightlifting and cardio per day. He added 35 pounds of muscle for the part. He also participated in tactical weapons training with a former California police officer and SWAT team member and received brief training in a combination of Japanese, Israeli, and Filipino martial arts.


10. John Travolta had a Roman influence

He modeled the Howard Saint character on Roman emperors.


11. The film gave the Punisher’s outfit its origins

The backstory about the Punisher getting his iconic skull shirt is never explained in the comics, and the movie’s plot points about the graphic allegedly warding off evil spirits was invented entirely by director Jonathan Hensleigh.


12. Castle’s tropical resort was a little more humble

The Castle family compound in Puerto Rico was actually two public bathroom structures on a public beach in Tampa, Florida that the production spruced up to look like houses and cabanas.


13. Saint’s nightclub wasn’t too swinging, either

The “Saints & Sinners” nightclub exterior was actually a bank located in downtown Tampa.


14. Wrestling fans will recognize The Russian

Longtime grappler Kevin Nash portrayed the giant assassin.


15. Frank Castle’s wife has also battled the X-Men

The Punisher isn’t the only movie based on a Marvel comic to feature actress Rebecca Romijn. She also portrays the shape-shifting mutant Mystique in four X-Men movies.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.