SDCC Interview: Producer Gale Anne Hurd Talks ‘Punisher: War Zone’
Producer Gale Anne Hurd has been involved with some of the most successful and exciting sci-fi and action films of all time. From the original Terminator through Aliens, Terminator 2, Armageddon and the recent Hulk, Hurd continues to deliver successful, entertaining and action-packed films over and over again. And her career is showing no signs of slowing down.
Recently, Hurd is readying yet another comic book adaptation for the big screen — a new new film called Punisher: War Zone which is, of course, based on the very popular Punisher comic. I caught up with Hurd at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk a bit about the new film, its dark, violent nature and why she thought a woman was the perfect choice to direct it.
COMICMIX: Hi Gale, thanks for talking to me. Let’s get right to it. Is Punisher: War Zone a sequel, a reboot or. . . ?
GALE ANNE HURD: its a reboot. We wanted to really go back to the origin but this isn’t an origin story in the way that we did it with hulk and take the origin of the punisher from the comic and we have that set up in flashbacks. So in the film we have Frank Castle set up on his mission of vengeance to punish the guilty.
iIs very much a MAX series. It’s a pedal to the metal, violent, tough hard-core film and it takes place in New York. We knew the heavy-duty fans were disappointed that the earlier film took place in Tampa.
For this movie we wanted to go back to the essence of the character, the locations, the other characters and the world and make it much closer to the comics.
CMix: Was it difficult decision to go back and reboot the franchise? Why did you do it? Did the first film not do well?
GAH: No, it wasn’t difficult and actually the prior film was one of the most successful independent movies that was released the year it came out. But we do listen to the fans. Marvel really cares about what the fans think and there was a sense that we could do it better.
We decided to stick to the characters and villains from the book which is why we have Jigsaw in the film and several of the other characters from the comics also.
CMix: How did you decide on Ray Stevenson to play Frank Castle.
GAH: i don’t know about you, but I was a huge fan of the show Rome. When we all saw Titus Pullow, the character Ray plays in that show and thought about him wearing the Punisher skull vest and with some serious firepower, we realized you couldn’t find a better Frank Castle.
What we said from the very beginning is that Ray looks like he stepped off of a Tim Bradstreet Punisher comic cover. He was literally the only person we had in mind. Luckily, he agreed and decided to do the film.
CMix: With the film being so violent and action-packed and so full of testosterone, was it difficult to decide on a woman director for it?
GAH: What’s great about Lexi (Alexander) is that she comes from a background of being a world champion kickboxer and she was also a stuntwoman. Her first short film was nominated for an Academy Award and her first feature, Green Street Hooligans is a very tough film.
She definitely has the sensibility to do a film like this and she’s doing a great job.
CMix: What’s the status of the film at the moment?
GAH: We are just about to finish editing and lock the picture. But we don’t come out until December, so we have some time.
CMix: You’ve obviously seen the film. How do you think its turning out?
GAH: I think its kick-ass. Absolutely kick-ass. iIs dark, violent with no holds barred. We’re going directly for an R rating for this one and it will definitely fit in with the fans expectations.
It’s basically a revenge story about punishing the guilty.
CMix: Ok, so you’ve just done Hulk, you have Punisher: War Zone coming out. What’s next for you? More marvel franchise films in the pipeline?
GAH: No more Marvel films at the moment.
CMix: Not even a sequel to Hulk?
GAH: We’ll see, We’ll see. Right now I’m doing an adaptation of Magdalena, a property from Top Cow. We just announced casting for that film and it will feature Jenna Dewann and Luke Goss of Hellboy.
CMix: Ok Gale, thanks for you time. Have a great rest of the show.
GAH: Thanks. You too.