Thomas Jane discussess playing Frank Castle, The Punisher 2, and his next film The Midst directed by Frank Darabont.

Having done such varied movies as The Crow: City of Angels, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, and TV shows like Arrested Development, Thomas Jane seems to be the perfect actor to embody the complex role of Frank Castle in The Punisher.

Recently, The Punisher: Extended Cut came to DVD, and we had a chance to sit down and discuss this iconic character with him.

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Is a role like Frank Castle part of the reason why you become an actor?

Thomas Jane: Uh, probably not. (Laughs) I think you become an actor... I don't know why you'd want to do something like that to yourself. I think it chooses you. I don't think you necessarily choose it. Frank's a great part, I love playing him, I'll do him again if they ever get a script together. He's a lot of fun. It's not Shakespeare.

What is it about the character, do you think, that has drawn fans so devotedly to the comic and the movie?

Thomas Jane: I think people like the dark and gritty, I do. I think what people like about the first movie is the dark and gritty stuff. That's what they like about the comic, you know? I think that that's where the film is successful. Capitalize that on the second movie and leave the lighter stuff on the outside. We'll be down in the basement with Frank.

One thing that struck me about how you played Frank Castle in the movie was, here was this character who had had this great loss, yet I never felt like I was watching you play it as a brooding superhero. You seemed to subtlety layer the character. Is that accurate?

Thomas Jane: Oh, you know I try to do the best I can with what I'm given. I try and make the best out of it. I think Frank's a great character. I think we just scratched the surface with the first one. I like the character. It gives me a lot to play with, I think he's got a lot more depth than people give him credit for.

Can you talk at all about the plot of The Punisher 2?

Thomas Jane: Well, I know that it's gotta be set in New York, it's just got to be. It's sad that the first one's not set in New York. This is a nice chance to kind of reinvent the franchise in my opinion. Where we can take the character and try and get even closer to the heart of who the guy really is. He's a New York character, we're gonna set the film in New York. Jigsaw's gonna be the bad guy. I mean this is all if they ever get a script.

When you make a film like The Punisher do you pay attention at all to it's legions of fans, or do you just try and put your own stamp on the character?

Thomas Jane: I try and figure out what's so great about the character. I try and figure out what people like about Frank Castle, and what people like about the world that he inhabits. I try and capitalize on that and bring that to the screen, you know? It's not Rocket Science. If you like that dark and gritty stuff than you're gonna like the same kind of stuff. I do, I'm a fan of that kind of stuff, so I did what pleased me about it. I felt pretty confident that other people would respond to it, too. What I like about Frank is from the comic books. I like his antihero, outlaw, underdog status. I dig that kind of stuff.

So I was hoping other people would, too, and I guess they did. I think they kind of responded with the first one. They should be making another one, I don't know. It'd be nice.

I thought that The Punisher 2 was definitely happening? Is it still up in the air?

Thomas Jane: Well, everything's up in the air until we get a script. You could talk all day long about how you're gonna do another one. Until you get a script, what are you gonna do? You're just playing with your thumbs. So, show me a script and then I'll tell you if we're making a movie or not.

Do you have any interest in playing other superheroes or do you feel an allegiance to The Punisher?

Thomas Jane: Well, I'd have a tough time playing a superhero. I don't see Frank as being a superhero at all. I see him as being a normal guy, he's a little crazy, who's got some special skills not outside the realm of what any human being is capable of, you know? He's a normal guy. He can't fly. He wasn't bit by a f&*king spider, he doesn't have any special powers.

What do you have coming about next?

Thomas Jane: Well, I'm gonna do The Mist with Frank Darabont. It's based on a Stephen King novella. We're gonna reshoot Killshot, and I guess that's the immediately future. I got The Mutant Chronicles coming out in 2008 which we shot last summer.

Stephen King and Frank Darabont have had great success together, that should certainly be something to see.

Thomas Jane: Yeah, well the script is great so I'm excited.

The Punisher: Extended Cut is currently available in DVD stores everywhere from Lionsgate.

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Evan Jacobs