For almost three years fans have been clamoring for a sequel to ‘The Punisher’ film released in April of 2004. Over that time we have heard tons of rumors and speculation on the progress of a new film. Who will star? Who will be the villain? When will the script be done? When will it start shooting? When will it be released?!?!?!?
You have no doubt read either here or on other internet sites about the various people working on a script. Well, it would seem that there have been a total of 4 complete scripts written so far. The news of Stuart Beattie (Collateral) being brought on board to flesh out a version of the script brought a new hope to many of us. Apparently Stuart did not even scratch the surface (5 total pages) before he moved onto another project. Just recently a small snippet was unearthed that Kurt Sutter (The Shield) was working on the project, as either writer or director which again raised the speculation flag and had many a fan’s hopes up.
I am rehashing this history to try and get us all up to speed on what I am about to tell you:
Things are not looking good for this movie franchise.
This afternoon I had the pleasure of having lunch with Thomas Jane to discuss the status of ‘Punisher 2’. Thomas is a hard working guy these days. He has four films “in the can” and not even released in theaters yet. He just completed of a 40 day shoot on ‘The Mist’ where his short days of shooting were only 14 hours long. He is developing future feature films and comic books for his RAW Entertainment company, and is going to start filming his directorial debut feature film towards the end of this year. In 3D none the less !!!
Thomas has been working out hard these past few months in preparation of a July start date of principal photography on ‘Punisher 2’. Thomas is a very passionate guy when it comes to his projects and has a very good idea on where he sees the Punisher franchise going. Marvel wants to re-invent the franchise. Put some time and money behind what could potentially be a very successful series of films featuring everyone’s favorite vigilante. Lionsgate (the studio with the rights to the character currently) wants to shove a new film into the production pipeline without giving much thought to a decent script or director. They have egg on their face because the sequel process has taken as long as it already has. Their option on the character's license will expire within the next year, and unless they start production on something, the rights will revert back to Marvel. (Shades of Roger Corman’s 1994 ‘Fantastic Four’ come to mind.)
There will be a meeting this Monday, April 9th between Lionsgate, Marvel, Gale Ann Hurd (producer), and Thomas Jane. Per Jane, he has script and director approval in order for him to be involved in a sequel. So far, the scripts that have been turned in are not good. The script writers are going for more of a comedic approach to the character. Granted, this is a movie based on a Comic Book character. But a majority of the fans like this character because he is grounded in reality. No spandex, no super powers, no super villains. The Punisher is what anyone of us could turn into if the circumstances were to go a certain way. There is a little Punisher in each and every one of us and I feel that is what draws us to this character.
Thomas has brought a story to the table which is very compelling. It has portions of both old school Punisher and new school tactics. Each of the writer’s (except Hensleigh; his first script for the sequel was an original idea using portions of the pre-existing comic book story lines.) has been directed to flesh out this story and develop a script. None have succeeded in Jane’s eyes.
Although I can’t be very specific on the details of Jane’s story for ‘Punisher 2’, I can tell you that it is a very compelling one. Yes, Jigsaw is the major villain and yes, it will be set in New York City. Jane would like to see a film that has the Punisher involved in some very close and personal fighting styles. Lots of Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and less shooting up a ton of bad guys with automatic weapons.
If Lionsgate will not pony up the funds and resources to bring on an experienced film writer to develop a decent script, Thomas Jane will not be involved in a sequel.
This coming Monday Thomas will try and convince Lionsgate they are approaching this franchise the wrong way and this is not the type of movie that Punisher fans are calling for. Jane envisions a movie in the vein of ‘Taxi Driver’ or ‘Collateral’. Something dark and crime noir. Something that carries with it the look and feel of the last 10 minutes of the first film. Not a “Steven Segal rip off.” What he wants to do is convince Lionsgate this is what the fans are looking for too.
Or, what are the fans looking for?
We need your help in compiling some statistics on what the Punisher fan has in mind for a sequel. What are a Punisher fan’s favorite movies? What kind of film do you want ‘Punisher 2’ to be? What directors would be perfect for ‘Punisher 2’?
Jane would like to hear from you and take this information to the table on Monday. We do not have a lot of time to compile this information so get your ideas in now. Forward this to your friends and fellow Punisher fans. Copy this to all your internet message boards and get the word out there that we are about to lose this franchise to a group of people that are not in tune with the character or what the fans really want.
Send in your ideas to [email protected]
. Answer the above questions and also submit some of your ideas on the movie and what you would like to see up on that screen. Remember !!! We have little time and this is a rare opportunity to make a contribution from the fan community.
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