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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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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