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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.