Jungle

Thomas Jane (The Punisher)

Thomas Jane: The Interview (The Punisher)

Do you know Thomas Jane? Probably not. But, if all goes well, you will know him as one of the best genre actors in the coming year. That genre being the dehydrated and dying action field that only has Vin Diesel to show now that Mel Gibson has officially stepped back from making himself ‘look like an ass by doing another Lethal Weapon’ and Ahnuld is preoccupied with banning gay marriages.

You may have seen Jane portraying Mickey Mantle in Billy Crystal’s *61 or in Lawrence Kasdan’s confusing and critically trashed Dreamcatcher. Or maybe you haven’t, which will make his remarkable performance in Lion’s Gate’s The Punisher a pretty damn good introduction to his big screen leading capabilities.

The Punisher now sits in front of us in his room at the Four Seasons in Atlanta, looking a bit tired and disheveled.

Jane lights his Camel, sits back and begins to talk ‘This is my first big promotional tour for a movie. It’s very tiring, especially coming off of the intensive training I went through for The Punisher; hand-to-hand combat, knife handling and training with the Navy Seals.’

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Jane has a new family, including a 13 month old baby, to happily take up the rest of his sleeping time. Jane’s newly gained family life actually helped with his portrayal of the weapons-wielding former family man out for revenge that he depicts in The Punisher, ‘I can relate in a lot of ways to Frank Castles’ reasons for doing what he does. I know if my family was killed, it would take everything I had not to go buy a gun and kill the person who did this to the people that I love.’

‘My family was also the reason I haven’t done a movie like this before. I’ve always wanted to but I could never hold out for it. I had to put food on the table and things like that. When this finally came along, I had to take it. It was hard though because we (Jane and wife Patricia Arquette) just had an amazing baby just 6 months before I started filming. I did get to see (my baby girl) Harlow a lot while I was making the film.’

Jane says that he is in no rush to sign on to another art house movie like Eden and Molly. ‘It’s not my thing. I don’t like the movies that just push for awards, stuff like The Hours and Cold Mountain. They are boring to me. I think movies should entertain you, not bore you. It’s like if the movie is so boring that it will put you to sleep then they will throw a bunch of awards at it. I don’t think you should have to put on a fake nose just to reveal yourself as an actor, it doesn’t make much sense. The Punisher is my kind of film, kind of a punk rock movie.’

‘I’ve always been a fan of actors like Steve McQueen and people like that. To be honest, I’ve never really been into the comic movies too much, although I do like Batman because he has the real aspect like Frank Castle does.’

‘I’ve worked with some amazing actors that I’ve learned a lot from. From Morgan Freeman to Gene Hackman and directors like Kasdan. It’s been amazing for me to be able to do that.’

When asked what the future holds for Jane, he simply answered. ‘My family. I haven’t signed on to anything else yet. It really depends on how this one does. I’m in no rush.’

Jane also revealed that The Punisher 2 has been written and is just waiting approval based on how the first film is received.

The Punisher opens nationwide on April 16, 2004

Peter Oberth
Interview by Peter Oberth
Follow him @ Twitter