Artisan, Marvel Find Their Punisher

Actor Tomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, Dreamcatacher) has been tapped to play the title role in Artisan Pictures’ and Marvel Prods.’ upcoming feature film adaptation of the popular comic book series The Punisher. The production is currently casting other roles and will begin production in July for a summer 2004 theatrical release.

The Punisher tells the story of F.B.I undercover agent and former Special Forces operative Frank Castle, who turns vigilante when his wife and son are executed as payback for his final undercover assignment.

Jane isn’t the first actor to don black in the title role. Muscle-bound action star Dolph Lundgren played The Punisher in Marvel’s and New World Pictures’ 1990 version, which came and went with little fanfare.

The latest version is being produced by Marvel Studios’ CEO Avi Arad (Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil, The Hulk) and producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Hulk, Aliens, The Terminator). Writing and directing duties will be handled by Jonathan Hensleigh, who has written The Rock, Armageddon, Jumanji and Die Hard: With a Vengeance.

Artisan Ent. exec. VP, Patrick Gunn, who oversees all Marvel projects at Artisan, and Artisan Pictures director of development, Rachel Murray, are shepherding The Punisher at the studio. Marvel Studios’ exec. VP, Kevin Feige will oversee the film on behalf of the Company.

In addition to The Punisher, Artisan and Marvel are in active development on the big-screen adaptation of the comic book character Iron Fist.